High-intensity aphasia therapy is cost-effective in people with poststroke aphasia: Evidence from the COMPARE trial

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title






First Page


Last Page


PubMed ID



American Heart Association


School of Medical and Health Sciences


Kim, J., Rose, M. L., Pierce, J. E., Nickels, L., Copland, D. A., Togher, L., . . . Cadilhac, D. A. (2024). High-intensity aphasia therapy is cost-effective in people with poststroke aphasia: Evidence from the COMPARE trial. Stroke, 55(3), 705–714. https://doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.123.045183


BACKGROUND: Evidence from systematic reviews confirms that speech and language interventions for people with aphasia during the chronic phase after stroke ( > 6 months) improve word retrieval, functional communication, and communication-related quality of life. However, there is limited evidence of their cost-effectiveness. We aimed to estimate the cost per quality-adjusted life year gained from 2 speech and language therapies compared with usual care in people with aphasia during the chronic phase (median, 2.9 years) after stroke. METHODS: A 3-arm, randomized controlled trial compared constraint-induced aphasia therapy plus (CIAT-Plus) and multimodality aphasia therapy (M-MAT) with usual care in 216 people with chronic aphasia. Participants were administered a standardized questionnaire before intervention and at 12 weeks after the 2-week intervention/control period to ascertain health service utilization, employment changes, and informal caregiver burden. Unit prices from Australian sources were used to estimate costs in 2020. Quality-adjusted life years were estimated using responses to the EuroQol-5 Dimension-3 Level questionnaire. To test uncertainty around the differences in costs and outcomes between groups, bootstrapping was used with the cohorts resampled 1000 times. RESULTS: Overall 201/216 participants were included (mean age, 63 years, 29% moderate or severe aphasia, 61 usual care, 70 CIAT-Plus, 70 M-MAT). There were no statistically significant differences in mean total costs ($13 797 usual care, $17 478 CIAT-Plus, $11 113 M-MAT) and quality-adjusted life years (0.19 usual care, 0.20 CIAT-Plus, 0.20 M-MAT) between groups. In bootstrapped analysis of CIAT-Plus, 21.5% of iterations were likely to result in better outcomes and be cost saving (dominant) compared with usual care. In contrast, 72.4% of iterations were more favorable for M-MAT than usual care. CONCLUSIONS: We observed that both treatments, but especially M-MAT, may result in better outcomes at an acceptable additional cost, or potentially with cost savings. These findings are relevant in advocating for the use of these therapies for chronic aphasia after stroke.



Access Rights

subscription content