Purpose: To examine the safety and feasibility of therapeutic application of low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) combined with language therapy for post-stroke patients with sensory-dominant aphasia.
Subjects and methods: Two post-stroke Japanese patients with sensory-dominant aphasia were studied. In both patients, 10 sessions of 20-minute low-frequency rTMS with 1 Hz to the Wernicke's area were provided throughout 6-day hospitalization, followed by weekly outpatient rTMS treatment for 3 months. The language therapy was also provided through the period of in- and out-patient treatment. Language function was evaluated using the Token test and the Standard Language Test of Aphasia (SLTA) at the start and end of the in-patient treatment and the end of the outpatient treatment.
Results: The therapeutic protocol was well tolerated throughout the in- and out-patient treatments, without any adverse effects. The scores of the Token test and certain sub-categories of SLTA increased in both patients after the in-patient rTMS treatment. Persistent improvement of the score was noted over the 3-month post-discharge period.
Conclusions: The proposed protocol of long-term application of low-frequency rTMS to the Wernicke's area and language therapy is considered a safe and feasible therapeutic approach for post-stroke patients with sensory-dominant aphasia.