The incidence of cases of aphasia following first stroke referred to speech and language therapy services in Scotland
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Law, J., Rush, R., Pringle, A., Irving, A., Huby, G., Smith, M., Conochie, D., Haworth, C. & Burston, A. (2009) The incidence of cases of aphasia following first stroke referred to speech and language therapy services in Scotland, Aphasiology, vol. 23, , pp. 1266-1275,
Background: Key to the provision of appropriate services is an understanding of the number of cases in a given population. This study examined the incidence of aphasia following first ever stroke. It was part of a larger study, the Aphasia in Scotland Study, which examined the provision of services for people with aphasia in Scotland. Aims: The present study examines the incidence of aphasia referred to speech and language therapy services in people who have experienced their first ever stroke. The specific questions addressed were: What is the incidence of aphasia following first ever stroke? What is the percentage of aphasia following first ever stroke? What are the crude figures for aphasia following first ever stroke by age? What are the crude figures for aphasia following first ever stroke by gender? What are the crude figures for aphasia following first ever stroke by severity? Methods & Procedures: All 14 health boards in Scotland were approached but only 3, NHS Borders, Orkney, and Shetland, were able to provide the level of information required. Respondents were asked to provide information about the age and gender and level of communication need of referred cases over a given year. Outcomes & Results: Results suggested that the incidence of aphasia following first ever stroke was found to be 54, 57, and 77.5 per 100,000, for NHS Borders, Orkney, and Shetland respectively. This is slightly higher than in other comparable studies. The percentage of new cases of aphasia following a first ever stroke across NHS Borders, Orkney, and Shetland was 19, 22, and 34% respectively. The variability across the three sites is probably a function of the potential effect of small changes in the relatively low numbers. The majority of cases were, unsurprisingly, over 65 years of age but a substantial minority-17% (Shetland), 26% (Borders) and 36% (Orkney)-were below 65 years of age. One third of new cases resulted in severe aphasia. Although the proportions of men and women with aphasia were similar, women tended to be older at the point at which they experienced their first stroke. Conclusions: The results are discussed in terms the practicalities of this sort of data collection exercise and the implications of the results for service delivery. There is a need for comparable local data collection exercises tied in to current epidemiological studies.