Authors: Ora HP, Kirmess M, Brady MC, Partee I, Hognestad RB, Johannessen BB, Thommessen B, Becker F
Title: The effect of augmented speech-language therapy delivered by telerehabilitation on poststroke aphasia-a pilot randomized controlled trial
Source: Clinical Rehabilitation 2020 34(3): 369-381
Year: 2020
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 07/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - Y
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - Y
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

OBJECTIVE: Pilot a definitive randomized controlled trial of speech-language telerehabilitation in poststroke aphasia in addition to usual care with regard to recruitment, drop-outs, and language effects. DESIGN: Pilot single-blinded randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Telerehabilitation delivered from tertiary rehabilitation center to participants at their home or admitted to secondary rehabilitation centers. SUBJECTS: People with naming impairment due to aphasia following stroke. INTERVENTION: Sixty-two participants randomly allocated to 5hours of speech and language telerehabilitation by videoconference per week over four consecutive weeks together with usual care or usual care alone. The telerehabilitation targeted functional, expressive language. MAIN MEASURES: Norwegian Basic Aphasia Assessment: naming (primary outcome), repetition, and auditory comprehension subtests; Verb and Sentence Test sentence production subtest and the Communicative Effectiveness Index at baseline, four weeks, and four months postrandomization. Data were analyzed by intention to treat. RESULT(S): No significant between-group differences were seen in naming or auditory comprehension in the Norwegian Basic Aphasia Assessment at four weeks and four months post randomization. The telerehabilitation group (n=29) achieved a Norwegian Basic Aphasia Assessment repetition score of 8.9 points higher (P=0.026) and a Verb and Sentence Test score 3 points higher (P=0.002) than the control group (n=27) four months postrandomization. Communicative Effectiveness Index was not significantly different between groups, but increased significantly within both groups. No adverse events were reported. CONCLUSION(S): Augmented telerehabilitation via videoconference may be a viable rehabilitation model for aphasia affecting language outcomes poststroke. A definitive trial with 230 participants is needed to confirm results.

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