Background: Brief cognitive tests represent a first step in the assessment of elderly people referred to outpatient clinics because of cognitive impairment. The aim of this study is to determine sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratio for a positive result (LR+) for the brief cognitive tests Seven Minute Screen (7MS) and Syndrom Kurztest (SKT) in an outpatient sample of elderly patients with no dementia or mild dementia.
Methods: Ninety-five patients aged 65 years or more from 10 Norwegian geriatric and psychogeriatric outpatient clinics were included in the study. All the subjects had a Mini-mental State Examination score of 22–30. A consensus diagnosis of dementia according to ICD-10 was established by an expert panel that considered data from a standardized assessment protocol blinded for 7MS and SKT results.
Results: Subjects were diagnosed with mild dementia (n = 69) or no dementia (n = 26). Sensitivity for 7MS was 71%, specificity 73% and LR+ was 2.6. Sensitivity for SKT was 65%, specificity 65% and LR+ was 1.9.
Conclusion: Sensitivity, specificity and LR+ for 7MS and SKT were unacceptably low in this outpatient sample.