Stroke Glossary

Refer to this page for definitions to terms often used regarding stroke rehabilitation.

Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)- brace used to prevent/control foot drop during swing phase of gait in patients with hemiparesis following stroke, spinal cord injury or brain injury

Aphasia- a language disorder that results in impairment in the comprehension and/or formulation of language and can affect both the spoken and written modalities. Aphasia is usually acquired as a result of stroke, brain injury or brain tumor. It can be classified into several types commonly referred to as expressive, receptive, and global aphasia.

Receptive aphasia- primary deficits relate to comprehension of language

Expressive aphasia- primary deficits relate to formulation of language

Global aphasia- both comprehension and formulation of language are impaired

Apraxia- the inability to plan or execute a movement to function or participate in an activity

Apraxia of speech- a motor speech disorder caused by disturbance in motor planning or programming of sequential movement for volitional speech production

Aspiration- penetration of food or liquids into the airway below the level of the vocal folds before, during or after swallowing

Cognition- the thought process combining sensory function, learning, and the ability to choose an effective response; knowing, thinking, learning and judging

Contraversive pushing (pusher syndrome)- characterized by active pushing of the non-affected limb towards the affected limb, resulting in loss of postural control/balance and inability to maintain midline or upright posture.

Dysarthria- weakness or altered neuronal control of the muscles responsible for speech production or defective sensory feedback regarding their movement

Dysphagia- impairment in the ability to swallow

Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow (FEES)- a functional, diagnostic test of deglutition in which a contrast dye, a flexible endoscopic catheter (inserted nasogastrically), a light source, and an air source (which is used to test sensation of the cricopharyngeal region) connected to a video camera to test and document the oropharyngeal phase of swallow reflex.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)- involves the use of electrical stimulation to elicit a muscle contraction that translates into a functional activity (eg. walking or performing upper extremity task)

Hemianopsia (visual field cut)- vision loss (blindness) in one half of the visual field; may involve a portion of the visual field of each eye

Hemiparesis- weakness on one half of the body

Hypertonia- abnormally increased muscle tone

Hypotonia- abnormally decreased muscle tone

Insight- the ability to foresee and comprehend implications of actions on circumstances; the extent to which an individual accurately judges his/her strengths and weaknesses

Kinesio Taping- The Kinesio Taping Method is used for patients with neurologic conditions (CVA, SCI, TBI) to improve muscle contraction of weakened muscles, reduce muscle spasm and hypertonicity, increase ROM, and provide proprioeptive feedback and muscle re-education to involved muscle groups.

Motor Control- control of movement and posture

Neuro-Developmental Treatment- A "problem solving" approach which involves the treatment of movement dysfunction in patients with CNS disorders such as stroke. Therapists identify each patient’s impairments causing ineffective movement patterns and use direct handling and facilitation to improve movement strategies used during functional tasks. Active participation by the patient is key to this approach.

NPO- "nothing by mouth"

Orthotic Device- an external appliance that supports a paralyzed muscle, promotes a certain motion, or corrects a deformity

Postural control- the ability to control the body's position in space for stability and orientation

Proprioception- refers to the unconscious awareness of one's position of joints or limbs in space

Sensation- the ability to identify the sensory stimuli, where it is located, and how intense the stimuli is

Spasticity- a type of hypertonicity that is velocity dependent; attributed to hyperactive stretch reflexes mediated through muscles spindle stretch receptors

Unilateral Spatial Neglect- unawareness of an entire area of space (usually the hemiparetic side) due to deficits in visual awareness and perception

Visual Attention- the ability to attend visually to elements in the environment including the ability to select objects that demand attention and to focus on them appropriately

Visual Perception- the ability to extract and organize visual information from the environment and integrate it with the information from other sensory modalities and higher cognitive functions