Spectrum of neuropsychiatric symptoms in chronic post-stroke aphasia

Lisa Edelkraut, Diana Lopez-Barroso, Maria Jose Torres-Prioris, Sergio E. Starkstein, Ricardo E. Jorge, Jessica Aloisi, Marcelo L. Berthier, Guadalupe Davila

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4 Citations (Web of Science)


BACKGROUND Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) have been insufficiently examined in persons with aphasia ( PWA) because most previous studies exclude participants with language and communication disorders. AIM To report a two-part study consisting of a literature review and an observational study on NPS in post-stroke aphasia. METHODS Study 1 reviewed articles obtained from PubMed, PsycINFO, Google Scholar and Cochrane databases after cross-referencing key words of post-stroke aphasia to NPS and disorders. Study 2 examined language deficits and activities of dailyliving in 20 PWA (median age: 58, range: 28-65 years; 13 men) with the Western Aphasia BatteryRevised and the Barthel Index, respectively. Informants of these 20 PWA were proxy- evaluated with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory and domain-specific scales, including the Stroke Aphasia Depression Questionnaire-10 item version and the Starkstein Apathy Scale. In addition, an adapted version of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was directly administered to the PWA themselves. This observational study is based on the baseline assessment of an intervention clinical trial (EudraCT: 2017-002858-36; ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04134416). RESULTS The literature review revealed a broad spectrum of NPS in PWA, including depression, anxiety, apathy, agitation/aggression, eating and sleep disorders, psychosis, and hypomania/mania. These findings alert to the need for improving assessment and treatment approaches of NPS taking into consideration their frequent occurrence in PWA. Study 2 showed that the 20 participants had mild- to-moderate aphasia severity and were functionally independent. A wide range of comorbid NPS was found in the post-stroke aphasic population (median number of NPS: 5, range: 1-8). The majority of PWA (75%) had depressive symptoms, followed by agitation/aggression (70%), irritability (70%), anxiety (65%) and appetite/eating symptoms (65%). Half of them also presented symptoms of apathy, whereas euphoria and psychotic symptoms were rare (5%). Domain-specific scales revealed that 45% of participants had apathy and 30% were diagnosed with depression and anxiety. CONCLUSION Concurrent NPS are frequent in the chronic period of post-stroke aphasia. Therefore, further research on reliable and valid assessment tools and treatment for this aphasic population is strongly warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-469
Number of pages20
JournalWorld Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2022


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