The aim of the current study was to investigate recovery of visuospatial neglect during the first year after stroke. Visuospatial neglect was measured using two frequently and widely used tests: the letter cancellation test (LCT) and the line bisection test (LBT). This was a prospective cohort study of 101 stroke patients. Of these 101 patients, 51 patients showed visuospatial neglect. All time-dependent measures were taken weekly, starting from within 14 days after stroke onset. From week 10-20 biweekly measurements were obtained. Follow-up measurements were performed at weeks 26, 38, and finally 52. For the present study, number of misses in the LCT, split on contralesional versus ipsilesional side, as well as the deviation from the actual midpoint in mm in the LBT were used. The longitudinal relationship of (bi)weekly time on improvement in LBT and LCT were investigated using random coefficient analysis and joinpoint analyses. Results indicated that progress of time is an independent covariate that reflects neurological recovery of visuospatial neglect. Additionally, trend changes were obtained in between 12 and 14 weeks post-stroke with respect to the neglected side. This is the first prospective cohort study in which the time course of neglect is investigated by using intensive serial measurements in the early months post-stroke.
Keywords: Longitudinal; Neglect; Recovery; Stroke; Trend analysis.
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