INTRODUCTION: The diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) refers to cognitive impairment not meeting dementia criteria. A survey among members of the American Association of Neurology (AAN) showed that MCI was considered a useful diagnosis. Recently, research criteria have been proposed for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in MCI based on AD biomarkers (prodromal AD/MCI due to AD). The aim of this study was to investigate the attitudes of clinicians in Europe on the clinical utility of MCI and prodromal AD/MCI due to AD criteria. We also investigated whether the prodromal AD/MCI due to AD criteria impacted management of MCI patients.
METHODS: An online survey was performed in 2015 among 102 members of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) and the European Alzheimer's Disease Consortium (EADC). Questions were asked on how often criteria were used, how they were operationalized, how they changed patient management, and what were considered advantages and limitations of MCI and prodromal AD/MCI due to AD. The questionnaire consisted of 47 questions scored on a Likert scale.
RESULTS: Almost all respondents (92%) used the MCI diagnosis in clinical practice. Over 80% of the EAN/EADC respondents found a MCI diagnosis useful because it helped to label the cognitive problem, involve patients in planning for the future, and start risk reduction activities. These findings were similar to those reported in the AAN survey. Research criteria for prodromal AD/MCI due to AD were used by 68% of the EAN/EADC respondents. The most common reasons to use the criteria were increased certainty of diagnosis (86%), increased possibilities to provide counseling (51%), facilitation of follow-up planning (48%), start of medical intervention (49%), and response to patients' wish for a diagnosis (41%). Over 70% of the physicians considered that a diagnosis of prodromal AD/MCI due to AD had an added value over the MCI diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: The diagnostic criteria of MCI and prodromal AD/MCI due to AD are commonly used among EAN/EADC members. The prodromal AD/MCI due to AD were considered clinically useful and impacted patient management and communication.