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Dysarthria in stroke : a narrative review of its description and the outcome of intervention

Mackenzie, Catherine (2011) Dysarthria in stroke : a narrative review of its description and the outcome of intervention. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 13 (2). pp. 125-136. ISSN 1754-9507

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Dysarthria is a frequent and persisting sequel to stroke and arises from varied lesion locations. Although the presence of dysarthria is well documented, for stroke there are scant data on presentation and intervention outcome. A literature search was undertaken to evaluate a) the features of dysarthria in adult stroke populations relative to the conventional Mayo system for classification, which was developed from diverse pathological groups, and b) the current status of evidence for the effectiveness of intervention in dysarthria caused by stroke. A narrative review of results is presented. The limited data available indicate that regardless of stroke location, imprecise articulation and slow speaking rate are consistent features, and voice disturbances, especially harshness, and reduced prosodic variation are also common. Dysarthria is more prevalent in left than in right hemisphere lesions. There is a need for comprehensive, thorough analysis of dysarthria features, involving larger populations, with stroke and other variables controlled and with appropriate age-referenced control data. There is low level evidence for benefits arising from intervention in stroke related dysarthria. Because studies involve few participants, without external control, and sometimes include stroke with other aetiologies, their results lack the required weight for confident evidence-based practice.