Aphasia is a language impairment that typically results from damage to the left hemisphere of the brain and consequently, is a common impairment after stroke. The resulting language dysfunctions are roughly classified as expressive (e.g. Broca’s aphasia) or receptive (e.g. Wernicke’s aphasia).

An individual with Broca’s aphasia has a partial or total inability to speak or produce spontaneous speech. They often have no difficulty understanding others, however, thoughts and intentions are difficult to express and may be non-fluent in nature. This form of aphasia can also affect written communication.

An individual with Wernicke’s aphasia has a partial or total inability to understand spoken and sometimes written language. Expression of language may be fluent in nature, but can be difficult for the listener to understand.

The symptoms of global aphasia are those of severe Broca’s aphasia and Wernicke’s aphasia combined. There is an almost total reduction of all aspects of spoken and written language, in expression as well as comprehension.

This module contains 34 studies, where 21 of them are high quality randomized clinical trials (RCTs), 11 are fair quality RCTs, and 2 are non-RCTs. The majority of interventions (18 studies) were studied among patients with chronic stroke (i.e. 6 months or more post-stroke).

Overall, we identified different interventions for post-stroke aphasia and those include: constraint-induced aphasia therapy; speech language therapy-unspecified, task-oriented aphasia therapy; semantic/phonological training, action-embedded therapy, intentional gestures and visual gestural cueing, supported communication, technology-assisted training (computer and devices), behavioral aphasia therapy, cognitive linguistic therapy, and narrative aphasia intervention.

Authors*: Tatiana Ogourtsova, PhD OT, Laura Chartrand, Amy Henderson PhD student, Sandra Bélisle-L’Anglais, Julie-France Hénault, Lyna Kaing, Caroline Lévesque, Sia Ching Tran, Véronique Vaillant, Adam Kagan BSc, Annabel McDermott BOccThy
Expert reviewer: Elizabeth Rochon
Content consistency: Gabriel Plumier

Evidence reviewed as of before 27-11-2018

NOTE: *The authors have no direct financial interest in any tools, tests or interventions presented in StrokEngine.