It is estimated that ∼30% of stroke survivors have aphasia, a language disorder resulting from damage to left-hemisphere language networks. In acute care settings, efficient identification of aphasia is critical, but there is a paucity of efficient bedside assessments.
To determine whether objective measures on a picture description task administered within 48 hours post stroke (a) predict language recovery, (b) estimate left-hemisphere lesion volume and location, and (c) correlate with other bedside language assessments.
Behavioral data were scored at acute and chronic time points. Neuroimaging data were used to determine associations between the picture description task, other language assessments, and lesion volume and location.
Acute content units, age, and total lesion volume predicted communication recovery; F3,18 = 3.98, P = 0.024; r2 = 0.40. Significant correlations were found between the picture description task and lesion volume and location. Picture description outcomes were also associated with other clinical language assessments.
This picture description task quickly predicted the language performance (communication recovery and outcome) for patients who suffered a left-hemisphere stroke. Picture description task measures correlated with damage in the left hemisphere and with other, more time-consuming and cumbersome language assessments that are typically administered acutely at bedside.
The predictive value of this picture description task and correlations with existing language assessments substantiate the clinical importance of a reliable yet rapid bedside measure for acute stroke patients that can be administered by a variety of health care professionals.