Neuropsychological assessment in acute stroke patients


Background and purpose

The number of people suffering from stroke is strongly increasing, giving rise to multiple cognitive deficits which frequently prevent a full recovery. The identification of both spared and impaired cognitive domains has a key role to plan adequate interventions. However, the existing standard tests are either too expensive in terms of time and efforts for patients in acute stage or they derived from instruments addressing different pathologies such as dementia.


We developed a brief neuropsychological battery (mental performance in acute stroke, MEPS) to assess different cognitive domains (language, memory, praxis, visual perception) in acute stroke patients. MEPS was validated by enrolling a sample of 204 patients suffering from stroke in acute stage, and 263 healthy controls participants.


The results indicated an adequate construct validity and a high ability in discriminating patients from healthy controls.


MEPS can be considered a simple and highly valuable bedside battery, easy to administer, with values of sensitivity and specificity suitable to be proposed as a screening tool for patients with acute stroke.

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    A copy of the MEPS (Italian version) can be obtained by contacting the authors at:


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The development was supported by the ISO-SPREAD (Stroke Prevention and Educational Awareness Diffusion) initiative, an Italian think-tank and consensus group that produced local evidence-based guidelines for the management and rehabilitation of stroke ( and granted by the Italian Ministry of Health.

We are thankful to Dr. Sterzi R. for giving us the opportunity to start the present project at the Niguarda Hospital in Milan and for having supported the development of the research.

Author information

Correspondence to Gabriella Bottini.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The experimental protocol received the ethical approval by the local Research Ethics Committee (study number 1549303). All the participants signed the informed consent prior to their participation in the study.

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Pasotti, F., Magnani, F.G., Gallucci, M. et al. Neuropsychological assessment in acute stroke patients. Neurol Sci (2020).

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  • Stroke
  • Battery
  • Cognitive domain
  • Brain lesion