Open Access Research article

Current clinical practice for Parkinson’s disease among Chinese physicians, general neurologists and movement disorders specialists: a national survey

Wei Chen, Shuai Chen, Qin Xiao, Gang Wang and Sheng-Di Chen*

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology & Institute of Neurology, Ruijin Hospital affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200025, China

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:155  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-155

Published: 7 December 2012



To explore current status and choices regarding diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) among physicians, general neurologists and movement disorders specialists in China via a national survey.


The cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was conducted from November, 2010 to July, 2011. Six hundreds and twelve doctors from different cities in China were recruited for this study.


68.6% (n=420) and 23.9% (n=146) of doctors have read the national and international guidelines, respectively. There was a larger proportion of movement disorders specialists reading the guidelines, in contrast to physicians and general neurologists (P<0.001). Up to 76.4% (n=465) and 81.8% (n=498) of doctors would choose standard oral levodopa test and conventional MRI(with T1 and T2), respectively; Whereas susceptibility weighed imaging(SWI)(16.1%; n=98), transcranial sonography (TCS) (1.8%; n=11) and functional neuroimaging test, such as single photon emission computed tomography(SPECT) (10.2%; n=62) and positron emission tomography(PET)(13.3%; n=81) were less used for suspected patients with PD in clinical practice. Doctors at different levels or from different hospitals and cities would choose different medication for motor complications and non-motor symptoms of patients with PD, in addition to initial drug selection for newly diagnosed PD. Doctors who had read the guidelines had significantly better knowledge of medication selections for PD under specific circumstances.


Compared with commonly employed standard oral levodopa test and conventional MRI, SWI complements MRI, TCS and functional neuroimaging were less performed for diagnosis of PD in clinical practice in China. The choices of diagnostic methods and therapeutic strategy of PD vary among physicians, general neurologists and movement disorders specialists. Guideline awareness is markedly beneficial to reasonable PD medications strategy in China.

Parkinson’s disease; National survey; Clinical practice guideline; Medication