If seizures left speechless: CA-P-S C-A-R-E, a proposal of a new ictal language evaluation protocol

Lorenzo Ferri, Luca Vignatelli, Lara Alvisi, Martina Fabbri, Silvia Boscarato, Corrado Zenesini, Laura Licchetta, Lorenzo Muccioli, Paolo Tinuper, Francesca Bisulli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: We aimed to create standardized protocol for language examination in patients who underwent video-EEG recording and assessed its efficacy in the characterization of ictal language impairment, its ability to differentiate this from impaired awareness, and interobserver reliability in clinical practice. Methods: From our database of video-EEG recordings, we selected a representative sample of 63 focal seizures with presumed language impairment. A multidisciplinary team of epileptologists, EEG technicians, and speech therapists analyzed the selected videos to highlight the critical issues of ordinary ictal language evaluation. We subsequently followed a multi-step process to develop the protocol and assess its interobserver reliability. Results: A protocol based on seven tests in hierarchical succession was created, summed up in the acronym CA-P-S C-A-R-E (Closed Answers, Pro-speak question, Simple orders, Common object denomination, Audio repetition, Reading, Evoke). Following its preliminary administration for 5 months, we assessed the inter-observer reliability of 16 healthcare professionals in distinguishing between language impairment and impaired awareness among a sample of 10 seizures, finding a substantial agreement (kappa 0.61). Conclusion: The proposed protocol, made of simple and easy to memorize tests, is an effective tool that evaluates multiple domains beyond language. Its use could help to recognize ictal aphasia effectively and differentiate it from impaired awareness, minimizing inter-examiner variability.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurological Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Epilepsy
  • Ictal aphasia
  • Ictal testing
  • Standardized language protocol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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