Preoperative word-finding difficulties in children with posterior fossa tumours: a European cross-sectional study

K Persson*, D Boeg Thomsen, Å Fyrberg, C Castor, M Aasved Hjort, B Andreozzi, P Grillner, J Kjær Grønbæk, J Jakus, M Juhler, C Mallucci, R Mathiasen, E Molinari, B Pizer, A Sehested, A Troks-Berzinskiene, K van Baarsen, I Tiberg, CMS study group

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

PURPOSE: Posterior fossa tumour surgery in children entails a high risk for severe speech and language impairments, but few studies have investigated the effect of the tumour on language prior to surgery. The current crosslinguistic study addresses this gap. We investigated the prevalence of preoperative word-finding difficulties, examined associations with medical and demographic characteristics, and analysed lexical errors.

METHODS: We included 148 children aged 5-17 years with a posterior fossa tumour. Word-finding ability was assessed by means of a picture-naming test, Wordrace, and difficulties in accuracy and speed were identified by cut-off values. A norm-based subanalysis evaluated performance in a Swedish subsample. We compared the demographic and medical characteristics of children with slow, inaccurate, or combined slow and inaccurate word finding to the characteristics of children without word-finding difficulties and conducted a lexical error analysis.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven percent (n = 55) presented with slow word finding, 24% (n = 35) with inaccurate word finding, and 16% (n = 23) with both slow and inaccurate word finding. Children with posterior fossa tumours were twice as slow as children in the norming sample. Right-hemisphere and brainstem location posed a higher risk for preoperative word-finding difficulties, relative to left-hemisphere location, and difficulties were more prevalent in boys than in girls. The most frequent errors were lack of response and semantically related sideordinated words.

CONCLUSION: Word-finding difficulties are frequent in children with posterior fossa tumours, especially in boys and in children with right-hemisphere and brainstem tumours. Errors resemble those observed in typical development and children with word-finding difficulties.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild's nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery
Volume40
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
ISSN0256-7040
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Brain Neoplasms/complications
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infratentorial Neoplasms/surgery
  • Language
  • Male
  • Language impairment
  • Posterior fossa tumour
  • Cerebellar mutism syndrome
  • Word-finding difficulties
  • Child language
  • Nordic-European CMS study

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