What are the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for vascular dementia?

Updated: Mar 26, 2018
  • Author: Kannayiram Alagiakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH, MHA; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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DSM-5 categorizes vascular dementia as an etiological subtype of either major or mild neurocognitive disorder. A summary of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria is as follows: [1]

  • Evidence of modest (mild) or significant (major) cognitive decline from a previous level of performance in one or more cognitive domains (complex attention, executive function, learning and memory, language, perceptual-motor or social cognition based on: 1) Concern of the individual, a knowledgeable informant, or the clinician that there has been a decline in cognitive function and 2) An impairment in cognitive performance (modest or significant) documented by standardized testing or another qualified assessment.

  • The clinical features are consistent with a vascular etiology as suggested by either of the following: 1) Onset of the cognitive deficits is temporally related to one or more cerebrovascular events; or 2) Evidence for decline is prominent in complex attention (including processing speed) and frontal executive functions.

  • There is evidence of the presence of cerebrovascular disease from history, physical examination, and/or neuroimaging considered sufficient to account for the neurocognitive deficits.

  • The symptoms are not better explained by another brain disease or systemic disorder.

  • Probable vascular neurocognitive disorder is diagnosed if one of the following is present:1) Clinical criteria are supported by neuroimaging evidence of significant parenchymal injury attributed to cerebrovascular disease;2) The neurocognitive syndrome is temporarily related to one or more documented cerebrovascular events; 3)Both clinical and genetic evidence of cerebrovascular disease is present

  • Possible vascular neurocognitive disorder is diagnosed if the clinical criteria are met but neuroimaging is not available and the temporal relationship of the neurocognitive syndrome with one or more cerebrovascular events is not established.

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