An article posted in Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists, September 20, 2021 in Vol. 20 • Issue 19 • Page 13

Researchers have developed a method to predict post-stroke recovery of language by measuring the initial severity of impairment. Being able to predict recovery has important implications for stroke survivors and their families as they plan for short- and long-term treatment needs.1

“These results indicate that if we know the extent of the initial impairment following stroke, we can predict with remarkable accuracy how patients will function 90 days later,” said Ronald Lazar, PhD, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. “We have established the first reliable metric of the current standard care for post-stroke language treatment and a standard against which future treatments can be compared.”

More than 1 million Americans have aphasia, and stroke is the most common cause, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. For many years it was thought that the combination of stroke size, patient age and education, and specific characteristics of language deficit were predictive of recovery, but no reliable metric had been established.

The recent study involved patients in the Performance and Recovery in Stroke (PARIS) database, which is based at the Neurological Institute of Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

Researchers used the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) to assess language function at 24 to 72 hours after stroke onset and then again at 90 days. Among patients with mild to moderate aphasia after acute stroke, recovery improved to about 70 percent of their maximum potential recovery as long as they received some aphasia therapy. Recovery was defined as the change in WAB score between baseline and 90 days.
This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
1. Lazar, R.M., Minzer, B., Antoniello, D., et al. (2010). Improvement in aphasia scores after stroke is well predicted by initial severity. Stroke, 41: 1485-88.

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