The effect of augmented speech-language therapy delivered by telerehabilitation on post stroke aphasia – a pilot randomized controlled trial

Hege Prag Øra*, Melanie Kirmess, Marian C. Brady, Iselin Partee, Randi Bjor Hognestad, Beate Bertheau Johannessen, Bente Thommessen, Frank Becker

*Corresponding author for this work

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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 5 hours 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. Results: 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: 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-381
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • aphasia
  • telerehabilitation
  • videoconference
  • randomized controlled trial
  • stroke


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