Causes of death in Chinese patients with multiple system atrophy.
Zhang, L., Cao, B., Zou, Y., Wei, Q., Ou, R., Liu, W., ... Shang, H.
ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to explore the causes of death in Chinese patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) as well as differences in the cause of death according to sex, subtype, disease onset, and whether the disease was accompanied by nocturnal stridor. A total of 131 MSA patients were enrolled and followed up once every year until their deaths. Clinical information was collected by neurologists, and the cause of death of the MSA patients was obtained from the patients’ relatives or caregivers. The current study included 62 MSA with predominant parkinsonism (MSA-P) and 69 MSA with predominant cerebellar ataxia (MSA-C) patients. Median survival time from disease onset to death of the MSA patients was 5.59 years. The most common cause of death was respiratory infection (65.6%). The second most common cause of death was sudden death (14.5%). Other causes included nutritional disorder due to dysphagia (9.2%), urinary tract infection (3.1%), suicide (2.3%), choking (1.5%), cerebrovascular accident (1.5%), myocardial infarction (1.5%), and lymphoma (0.8%). We found that sudden death was more likely to occur in patients with nocturnal stridor than in those without (P<0.001). There were no significant differences in the cause of death according to subtype, sex, or onset symptoms (autonomic failure or motor symptoms). Sudden death is a relatively common cause of death in MSA patients, second only to respiratory infection, especially in patients with nocturnal stridor. The information provided by our study may help to provide better medical care to MSA patients.