Efficacy and safety of transcranial magnetic stimulation in patients with non-fluent aphasia, following an ischaemic stroke. A controlled, randomised and double-blind clinical trial
Introduction. Non-fluent aphasia is a frequent complication in post-ischemic stroke patients, with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) being one of the possible treatment alternatives.
Aim. To assess the efficacy and safety of rTMS in patients with non-fluent after-ischemic stroke aphasia.
Patients and methods. Double blind, randomized controlled clinical trial in post-stroke patients who were assigned to receive 10 sessions (one daily) of active treatment or placebo of rTMS, without the addition of language therapy. The baseline characteristics were compared initially and the efficacy between the active group versus the placebo group at day 30 was evaluated through a Mann-Whitney U test.
Results. 82 patients were included: active group (n = 41) and placebo group (n = 41). At baseline, statistically significant differences were found between the groups in favor of the placebo in the domains of the Boston test of auditory compression (p = 0.024), denomination (p = 0.014) and praxis (p = 0.026), and also occurred on the 30th day in the naming domains (p = 0.037) and reading (p = 0.001). There were 39 adverse reactions: 23 (26.83%) in the active group vs 16 (21.96%) in the placebo group (p = 0.290); the majority corresponded to episodes of mild headache.
Conclusion. rTMS is a safe therapy, however, given the conditions of this study, we could not demonstrate the efficacy of rTMS versus placebo in patients with non-fluent aphasia with involvement of Broca’s area after an ischemic stroke.
Key words. Non-fluent aphasia. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. rTMS. Stroke.