The evaluation of anosognosia in stroke patients

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2009;27(3):280-9. doi: 10.1159/000199466. Epub 2009 Feb 6.


Background: Anosognosia in stroke patients showed a relevant detrimental effect on the rehabilitation course and patients' quality of life, especially in those with brain injury. Although a number of reliable scales for the assessment of anosognosia in stroke and traumatic brain injury have been developed, at present no single measure fully explores the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon.

Method: A PubMed search with appropriate terms was carried out in order to critically review the issue.

Results: The main dimensions to consider in the investigation of anosognosia in brain-injured patients are (a) awareness of deficit and related functional implications, (b) modality specificity, (c) causal attribution, (d) expectations of recovery, (e) implicit knowledge and (f) differential diagnosis with psychological denial. Time elapsed from stroke, aetiology, laterality, aphasia and clinical complications may influence all these characteristics and must be taken into consideration. Finally, an adequate association of the anosognosia evaluation with other neuropsychological and behavioural aspects is relevant for a modern holistic approach to the patient.

Conclusions: This review is meant to stimulate the development of a new comprehensive assessment procedure for anosognosia in brain injury and particularly in stroke, in order to catch the multidimensionality of the phenomenon and to shape rehabilitation programmes suitable to the specific clinical features of every single patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agnosia / diagnosis*
  • Agnosia / etiology
  • Agnosia / rehabilitation
  • Aphasia / etiology
  • Awareness*
  • Denial, Psychological
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hemiplegia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Recovery of Function
  • Self Concept*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / psychology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome