Background: Neuroimaging is an increasingly important tool in the diagnostic workup of dementia.
Neurologists, geriatricians, and old-age psychiatrists are involved in key tasks in the diagnostic process,
frequently referring patients with suspected dementia for neuroimaging.
Methods: The research design was a postal survey of all geriatricians, old-age psychiatrists, and neurologists
in the Republic of Ireland (N5176) as identified by the Irish Medical Directory 2011–2012
and supplementary listings.
Results: Almost 65% of specialists did not have access to 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron
emission (FDG-PET) or FDG-PET/computed tomography (CT), and 80.3% did not have access to
perfusion hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime single-photon emission computed tomography
(SPECT) or dopaminergic iodine-123-radiolabeled 2b-carbomethoxy-3b-(4-iodophenyl)-N-
(3-fluoropropyl) nortropane SPECT. Most specialists (88.7%) referred patients with mild cognitive
impairment or suspected dementia for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 81.7% referred for CT,
and 26.8% for FDG-PET or FDG-PET/CT. Only 44.6% of respondents were aware of dementiaspecific
protocols for referrals for neuroimaging.
Conclusion: Specialist access to imaging modalities other than CT and MRI is restricted. Improved
access may affect patient treatment and care..