Objective: Patients with progressive dementia invariably evolve to a stage where they can no longer be tested by standard neuropsychological tests. We studied the use of the Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) in such patients.
Design: Case series.
Setting: Geriatric long-term facility.
Patients: Sixty-nine patients who met the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition, for dementia were selected. The diagnosis of probable Alzheimer's disease was established according to the guidelines suggested by the National Institute of Neurologic and Communicative Diseases and Stroke/Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association. There were 18 men and 51 women. The mean age of the population was 82.99 +/- 5.66 years. The mean Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was 10.71 +/- 6.14.
Main outcome measure: To characterize the cognitive profile and evolution of severely demented patients by means of the SIB.
Results: The mean score on the SIB was 92.52 +/- 31.92, with a possible maximum of 133 points. Subgroups of patients with the most severe degree of dementia (MMSE scores of 0 to 5 and 6 to 11) showed significant differences in their scores on the SIB. In contrast, no differences were found between subgroups with MMSE scores of 6 to 11, 12 to 17, and greater than 17. Fifteen patients who had MMSE scores of less than 6 had SIB scores ranging from 7 to 81. All cognitive domains showed a deterioration across the four severity groups as determined by the MMSE scores and also during a longitudinal study performed on 26 patients.
Conclusion: Our study indicates that the SIB is useful for the neuropsychological evaluation of severely demented patients and for their follow-up.