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Eur J Neurol. 2012 Jan;19(1):128-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03449.x. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

The prediction of functional dependency by lateralized and non-lateralized neglect in a large prospective stroke sample.

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Department of Psychology, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.



Lateralized and non-lateralized impairments in visual attention have been identified as important components in patients with visuospatial neglect. This study investigated the course of these two phenomena across time in relation to neurological symptoms and functional outcome in a large consecutive and prospective stroke sample.


A total of 375 consecutive stroke patients were divided into three groups (lateralized, non-lateralized or no visual inattention) acutely and 3 months post-stroke using the star cancellation test. Neurological impairments, localization of brain damage, asymmetry in clinical symptoms and functional outcome were assessed. Possible group differences were analysed, and stepwise logistic regressions were performed to examine the relative importance of predictors of functional dependency.


Participants with acute lateralized inattention differed (P ≤ 0.05) from the other two groups by more often exhibiting severe neurological symptoms, functional dependency and persisting visual inattention. The regression analyses selected acute lateralized inattention as an important and independent predictor of functional dependency following right hemisphere damage, but not following left hemisphere damage.


The results emphasize the prognostic value of lateralized inattention and the importance of separating lateralized and non-lateralized symptoms of visual inattention at the commencement of rehabilitation.

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