While meta-analyses confirm treatment for chronic post-stroke aphasia is effective, a lack of comparative evidence for different interventions limits prescription accuracy. We investigated whether Constraint-Induced Aphasia Therapy Plus (CIAT-plus) and/or Multimodality Aphasia Therapy (M-MAT) provided greater therapeutic benefit compared with usual community care and were differentially effective according to baseline aphasia severity.
We conducted a three-arm, multicentre, parallel group, open-label, blinded endpoint, phase III, randomised-controlled trial. We stratified eligible participants by baseline aphasia on the Western Aphasia Battery-Revised Aphasia Quotient (WAB-R-AQ). Groups of three participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1) to 30 hours of CIAT-Plus or M-MAT or to usual care (UC). Primary outcome was change in aphasia severity (WAB-R-AQ) from baseline to therapy completion analysed in the intention-to-treat population. Secondary outcomes included word retrieval, connected speech, functional communication, multimodal communication, quality of life and costs.
We analysed 201 participants (70 in CIAT-Plus, 70 in M-MAT and 61 in UC). Aphasia severity was not significantly different between groups at postintervention: 1.05 points (95% CI –0.78 to 2.88; p=0.36) UC group vs CIAT-Plus; 1.06 points (95% CI –0.78 to 2.89; p=0.36) UC group vs M-MAT; 0.004 points (95% CI –1.76 to 1.77; p=1.00) CIAT-Plus vs M-MAT. Word retrieval, functional communication and communication-related quality of life were significantly improved following CIAT-Plus and M-MAT. Word retrieval benefits were maintained at 12-week follow-up.
CIAT-Plus and M-MAT were effective for word retrieval, functional communication, and quality of life, while UC was not. Future studies should explore predictive characteristics of responders and impacts of maintenance doses.
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