Dementia disorders predispose for lethal complications and decrease life expectancy. A more profound knowledge regarding end-stage conditions in dementia could therefore ameliorate treatment and care of these patients.
We studied autopsy reports on 207 deceased individuals with clinically diagnosed neurocognitive disorder/dementia and on 200 neurocognitively healthy individuals of the same age range. Autopsy results, esp. cause of death was compared between the dementia and the control groups.
The two most frequent causes of deaths in the dementia population were pneumonia (34.3%) and acute myocardial infarction (30.4%). This result differed from that of the control group, in which acute myocardial infarction (42.5%) accounted for most events of deaths, followed by circulatory failure (12.5%). The leading cause of death varied among dementia subtypes. Further, in Alzheimer’s disease: pneumonia was more frequent in severe/advanced cases while acute myocardial infarction was more common in milder cases.
Cause of death differed between the demented and the general population of same age and between subtypes of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease severity was reflected in different final conditions. The findings have relevance for the final stage care and treatment in dementia disorders.
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