Survival study of vascular dementia in Rochester, Minnesota

David S. Knopman, Walter A. Rocca, Ruth H. Cha, Steven D. Edland, Emre Kokmen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the relationship between features and definitions of vascular dementia (VaD) and survival. Design: We used the medical records linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiology Project to identify incident cases of dementia in Rochester from January 1, 1985, through December 31, 1989. Dementia and Alzheimer disease were defined using the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Vascular dementia was defined by ad hoc criteria, including imaging. Each patient with dementia was matched by age and sex to a referent subject free of dementia. Patients with dementia and referent subjects were followed from the onset of dementia (or index year) through death, censoring, or the end of the study. Results: We included 479 patients with incident dementia and 479 referent subjects. Overall, patients with VaD had worse mortality than referent subjects (relative risk [RR], 2.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9-3.9). Among patients with VaD, those with dementia temporally related to a stroke had a worse relative mortality (RR, 4.5; 95% CI, 2.7-7.4) than those with only imaging evidence of bilateral infarctions in gray matter structures (RR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.5-3.8). Relative mortality estimates varied by using 3 sets of published diagnostic criteria for VaD. Patients with VaD had a higher RR of death (RR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.9-3.9) than patients with dementia overall (RR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.6-2.1) or patients with Alzheimer disease (RR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.2-1.7). Conclusions: The relative mortality of patients with VaD varied depending on the set of diagnostic criteria used. A temporal relationship to a stroke was the strongest predictive feature for poor survival in patients with dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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