Open Access Research article

Speech disturbance at stroke onset is correlated with stroke early mortality

Kazuo Shigematsu1*, Hiromi Nakano2, Yoshiyuki Watanabe3, Tatsuyuki Sekimoto4, Kouichiro Shimizu5, Akihiko Nishizawa6, Atsushi Okumura7 and Masahiro Makino8

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, National Hospital Organization, Minami Kyoto Hospital, Kyoto, Japan

2 Department of Neurosurgery, Kyoto Kidugawa Hospital, Kyoto, Japan

3 Department of Epidemiology for Community Health and Medicine, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto, Japan

4 Department of Neurosurgery, Kyoto Prefectural Yosanoumi Hospital, Kyoto, Japan

5 Department of Neurosurgery, Kyoto Fushimi Shimizu Hospital, Kyoto, Japan

6 Department of Internal Medicine, The Nishizawa Clinic, Kyoto, Japan

7 Department of Neurosurgery, Jujyo Rehabilitation Hospital, Kyoto, Japan

8 Department of Neurology, Japanese Red Cross Kyoto Daini Hospital, Kyoto, Japan

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BMC Neurology 2013, 13:87  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-87

Published: 15 July 2013



Speech disturbance is a common symptom of stroke and is important as a prompt identifier of the event. The frequency of the symptom among each stroke subtype, differences between patients with and without speech disturbance and its correlation to early mortality remain unclear.


The Kyoto prefecture of Japan has established a registry to enroll new stroke patients in cooperation with the Kyoto Medical Association and its affiliated hospitals. It is named the Kyoto Stroke Registry (KSR). We confirmed the existence or absence of speech disturbance in 1693 stroke patients registered to the KSR and investigated associations between speech disturbance and other characteristics.


Speech disturbance was observed in 52.6% of cerebral infarction (CI), 47.5% of cerebral hemorrhage (CH), and 8.0% of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) cases. Characteristics showing statistically significant differences between patients with and without speech disturbance and patients were age, blood pressure, history of hypertension, arrhythmia and diabetes mellitus, habit of tobacco and alcohol, and paresis. Mortality rates of patients with/without speech disturbance were 5.2%/1.2% for CI, 12.5% /4.1% for CH, and 62.5%/ 9.0% for SAH. Adjusted hazard ratios were 2.63 (1.14-6.13, p = 0.024) in CI, 4.15 (1.41-12.23, p = 0.010) in CH, and 20.46 (4.40-95.07, p < 0.001) in SAH).


Speech disturbance was frequently observed in stroke patients at the onset and therefore could be useful to identify the problem at the earliest stage. Hazard ratio for death was higher in stroke patients with speech disturbance than patients without. Speech disturbance is a prompt predictor of stroke early mortality.

Hiromi Nakano, Yoshiyuki Watanabe, Tatsuyuki Sekimoto, Kouichiro Shimizu, Akihiko Nishizawa, Atsushi Okumura and Masahiro Makino contributed equally to this work.