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Diagnostic accuracy of parkinsonism syndromes by general neurologists

, : Diagnostic accuracy of parkinsonism syndromes by general neurologists. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders 20(8): 840-844

Movement disorder specialists can achieve a high level of accuracy when clinically diagnosing parkinsonism syndromes. However, data about the diagnostic accuracy among general neurologists is limited. This study investigated the recent diagnostic accuracy of parkinsonism syndromes by general neurologists. A retrospective examination of 1362 post-mortem cases diagnosed in the years 2000-2012 by neuropathologists was performed. Out of these cases, we identified 111 patients who received a clinical parkinsonism diagnosis during life and 122 patients who received a neuropathological diagnosis of a parkinsonism syndrome post-mortem including 11 incidental cases. Fifty-eight (75.3%) of the 77 patients who had received clinical Parkinson's disease (PD) diagnoses were confirmed after the neuropathological examination. The sensitivity of the clinical diagnosis for idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) was 89.2% and the specificity was 57.8%. The corresponding numbers for progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) were 52.9% and 100%, and for multiple system atrophy (MSA) were 64.3% and 99.0%, respectively. Parkinson's disease is heavily overdiagnosed by general neurologists, whereas parkinsonism plus syndromes are underdiagnosed. Despite improvements in the diagnostic methods during recent decades and the development of diagnostic clinical criteria for parkinsonian syndromes, the diagnostic accuracy of Parkinson's disease remains relatively low, and 1/4 of diagnoses are incorrect.


PMID: 24816002

DOI: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2014.04.019

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