COS-Speech: protocol to develop a core outcome set for dysarthria after stroke for use in clinical practice and research

Claire Mitchell, Audrey Bowen, Paul Conroy, Brooke-Mai Whelan, Sarah Wallace, Annette Dancer, Kate Woodward-Nutt, Jamie Kirkham

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Background: Dysarthria after stroke is when speech intelligibility is impaired, and this occurs in half of all stroke survivors. Dysarthria often leads to social isolation, poor psychological well-being and can prevent return to work and social lives. Currently, a variety of outcome measures are used in clinical research and practice when monitoring recovery for people who have dysarthria. When research studies use different measures, it is impossible to compare results from trials and delays our understanding of effective clinical treatments. The aim of this study is to develop a core outcome set (COS) to agree what aspects of speech recovery should be measured for dysarthria after stroke (COS-Speech) in research and clinical practice. Methods: The COS-Speech study will include five steps: (1) development of a long list of possible outcome domains of speech that should be measured to guide the survey; (2) recruitment to the COS-Speech study of three key stakeholder groups in the UK and Australia: stroke survivors, communication researchers and speech and language therapists/pathologists; (3) two rounds of the Delphi survey process; (4) a consensus meeting to agree the speech outcomes to be measured and a follow-up consensus meeting to match existing instruments/measures (from parallel systematic review) to the agreed COS-Speech; (5) dissemination of COS-Speech. Discussion: There is currently no COS for dysarthria after stroke for research trials or clinical practice. The findings from this research study will be a minimum COS, for use in all dysarthria research studies and clinical practice looking at post-stroke recovery of speech. These findings will be widely disseminated using professional and patient networks, research and clinical forums as well as using a variety of academic papers, videos, accessible writing such as blogs and links on social media. Trial registration: COS-Speech is registered with the Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) database, October 2021 In addition, “A systematic review of the psychometric properties and clinical utility of instruments measuring dysarthria after stroke” will inform the consensus meeting to match measures to COS-Speech. The protocol for the systematic reviews registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42022302998.

Original languageEnglish
Article number57
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Core outcome set
  • Delphi process
  • Dysarthria
  • Stroke


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