Hypoperfusion of Wernicke's area predicts severity of semantic deficit in acute stroke

Ann Neurol. 2001 Nov;50(5):561-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.1265.


Based on earlier findings that the presence of word comprehension impairment (a deficit in the meaning of words, or lexical semantics) in acute stroke was strongly associated with the presence of hypoperfusion or infarct in Wernicke's area, we tested the hypothesis that the severity of word comprehension impairment was correlated with the magnitude of delay in perfusion of Wernicke's area on magnetic resonance perfusion-weighted imaging. Eighty patients were prospectively studied within 24 hours of onset or progression of acute left hemisphere stroke symptoms, with diffusion-weighted imaging, perfusion-weighted imaging, and detailed language tests. For 50 patients without infarct in Wernicke's area, we found a strong Pearson correlation between the rate of errors on a word comprehension test and the mean number of seconds of delay in time-to-peak concentration of contrast in Wernicke's area, relative to the homologous region on the right. These results add further evidence for the crucial role of Wernicke's area (Brodmann's area 22) in word comprehension and indicate that the magnitude of delay on PWI may be a gross indicator of tissue dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aphasia, Wernicke / diagnosis*
  • Aphasia, Wernicke / etiology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Language Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / diagnosis*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Temporal Lobe / blood supply*
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*