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Alzheimer-type dementia F020

Last amended 
21 March 2017
Current RMA Instruments
Consolidated RH SOP
22 of 2010 as amended by 17 of 2014
Consolidated BOP SOP
23 of 2010 as amended by 18 of 2014
Changes from previous Instruments

SOP Bulletin 171

ICD Coding
  • ICD-9-CM Codes: 331.0

  • ICD-10-AM Codes: G30

Brief description

Alzheimer-type dementia is the commonest type of dementia, and affects approximately 1 in 9 people aged over 65.  The condition is unlikely to be present before age 60.

Confirming the diagnosis

The SOP definition consists of specific diagnostic criteria that need to be satisfied.  The presence of dementia should be confirmed by a neurologist.  If a neurologist diagnoses a dementia, neuroimaging (CT, MRI scan), neuropsychological testing and other screening investigations should be performed to identify the type of dementia.  Definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer-type dementia requires histopathologic examination of the brain, which is rarely done in life.  In the absence of histopathology, Alzheimer-type dementia is a diagnosis of exclusion.

Additional diagnoses covered by these SOPs
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Senile dementia – obsolete diagnosis, do not use – treat as Alzheimer-type dementia in the absence of any other identifiable cause.
Conditions not covered by these SOPs
  • Vascular dementia*
  • Multi-infarct dementia* (vascular dementia)
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies#
  • Frontotemporal dementia#
  • Any other identifiable cause of dementia, ICD code as appropriate

* another SOP applies

# non-SOP condition

Clinical onset

Clinical onset will not be when first symptoms, e.g. memory loss, first developed.  It will be when the diagnostic criteria were first fulfilled.  This will generally correspond to the time of first diagnosis of dementia.  Onset is typically after age 65.

Clinical worsening

Alzheimer-type dementia inevitably progresses in all patients.  There is no treatment available that modifies the course of the condition.