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Am J Speech Lang Pathol ; 30(2): 503-516, 2021 03 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545665


Purpose COVID-19 has shifted models of health care delivery, requiring the rapid adoption of telehealth, despite limited evidence and few resources to guide speech-language pathologists. Management of dysarthria presents specific challenges in the telehealth modality. Evaluations of dysarthria typically rely heavily on perceptual judgments, which are difficult to obtain via telehealth given a variety of technological factors such as inconsistencies in mouth-to-microphone distance, changes to acoustic properties based on device settings, and possible interruptions in connection that may cause video freezing. These factors limit the validity, reliability, and clinicians' certainty of perceptual speech ratings via telehealth. Thus, objective measures to supplement the assessment of dysarthria are essential. Method This tutorial outlines how to obtain objective measures in real time and from recordings of motor speech evaluations to support traditional perceptual ratings in telehealth evaluations of dysarthria. Objective measures include pause patterns, utterance length, speech rate, diadochokinetic rates, and overall speech severity. We demonstrate, through clinical case vignettes, how these measures were completed following three clinical telehealth evaluations of dysarthria conducted via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. This tutorial describes how each of these objective measures were utilized, in combination with subjective perceptual analysis, to determine deviant speech characteristics and their etiology, develop a patient-specific treatment plan, and track change over time. Conclusion Utilizing objective measures as an adjunct to perceptual ratings for telehealth dysarthria evaluations is feasible under real-world pandemic conditions and can be used to enhance the quality and utility of these evaluations.

Dysarthria/therapy , Speech-Language Pathology/methods , Telemedicine/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Speech Intelligibility , Telemedicine/standards
Cureus ; 12(8): e9921, 2020 Aug 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-740573


Isolated dysarthria is a speech abnormality characterized by slurring without any language dysfunction, or other neurological deficits. In an acute setting, it is commonly associated with stroke. In the context of social distancing during the current corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, nondisabling symptoms such as isolated dysarthria can delay a patient's perception to seek immediate medical care. We present a rare case of isolated dysarthria in a COVID-19 infected stroke patient with a grave prognosis. A 79-year-old African American male presented with isolated dysarthria that manifested two days prior to his hospital visit. The dysarthria assessment showed impaired articulation, phonation, and prosody. Other neurological examinations were normal. He tested positive for the COVID-19 infection. His pulmonary CT scan showed bilateral ground glass opacities. An electrocardiogram showed atrial fibrillation (AF). Brain MRI revealed a punctate acute infarction in the left frontal lobe. Initially, he was treated with IV anticoagulation, oral beta-blocker, azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine, but he dramatically deteriorated within a week exhibiting a highly elevated cytokine level eventually resulting in multi-system organ failure. Despite aggressive treatment with steroids, tocilizumab and other supportive measures, the patient died of cardiac arrest. Our case highlights that acute stroke could manifest as an isolated dysarthria, which is an indicator of increased severity and high mortality with COVID-19 infection. Public awareness about the stroke symptom awareness should be emphasized.

eNeurologicalSci ; 20: 100250, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-599986


The clinical signs of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) can be heterogenous because of the diversity of potential organ involvement. We describe a 58-year-old woman who developed new-onset dysarthria and hemiplegia and was found to be COVID-19-positive. This is among the first cases of COVID-19 presenting solely with focal neurologic deficits.