CLINICAL TOPICS

Aphasia

Overview

Incidence and Prevalence

Signs and Symptoms

Causes

Aphasia is caused by damage to the language centers of the brain. In most people, these language centers are located in the left hemisphere, but aphasia can also occur as a result of damage to the right hemisphere; this is often referred to as crossed aphasia to denote that the right hemisphere is language dominant in these individuals. Common causes of aphasia are

  • stroke
    • ischemic: blockage that disrupts blood flow to a region of the brain
    • hemorrhagic: a ruptured blood vessel that damages surrounding brain tissue
  • traumatic brain injury
  • brain tumors
  • brain surgery
  • brain infections
  • other neurological diseases (e.g., dementia).

Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia. According to the National Aphasia Association (2011), about 25% to 40% of stroke survivors experience aphasia. Approximately 35%-40% of adults admitted to an acute care hospital with a diagnosis of stroke are diagnosed with aphasia by the time they are discharged (Dickey et al., 2010; Pedersen, Jorgensen, Raaschou, & Olsen, 1995).

Roles and Responsibilities

Assessment

Treatment

Resources

References

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