Apraxia

(Buccofacial Apraxia; Conceptual Apraxia; Constructional Apraxia; Gait Apraxia; Ideomotor Apraxia; Limb-Kinetic Apraxia; Movement Disorder; Orofacial Apraxia; Stroke Complications)

How to Say It: ah-PRAX-ee-ah

Definition

Apraxia is the inability to do learned movements. A person may have the desire and the physical ability to do the movements, but they cannot. There are many types.

Causes

This problem is caused by diseases or damage in the brain, such as:

Stroke

si1213_97870_1_Ischemic Stroke.jpg
Stroke can cause brain damage, which can lead to apraxia.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people who have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) . Other things that may raise the risk are:

Symptoms

A person may have problems:

  • Copying movements or making signals when asked
  • Making facial movements, such as winking, whistling, or sticking out the tongue
  • Making the movements needed to speak
  • Making more than one movement at the same time
  • Making fine, exact movements with the hands or fingers, such as handling coins
  • Walking
  • Copying or drawing simple figures
  • Picking and using tools or objects the right way
  • Doing tasks in order
  • Dressing

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. You may be asked to do common tasks as part of the exam. A neuropsychological test may also be done to check brain function.

Images may be taken of the brain. This can be done with:

A person's speech ability may also be tested.

Treatment

The cause will need to be treated. The treatment for apraxia will depend on the type a person has. Choices are:

  • Physical therapy to help with movement
  • Occupational therapy to help with everyday tasks and self-care
  • Speech therapy to improve swallowing and speaking
  • Cognitive rehabilitation to help with brain function

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem. The risk may be lowered by managing chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure.

RESOURCES:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
http://www.asha.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://www.ninds.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
http://www.heartandstroke.com

References:

Apraxia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Apraxia-Information-Page. Accessed January 22, 2021.
Apraxia of speech in adults. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/apraxia-of-speech-in-adults. Accessed January 22, 2021.
Childhood apraxia of speech. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/childhood-apraxia-of-speech. Accessed January 22, 2021.
Stroke rehabilitation in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/stroke-rehabilitation-in-adults. Accessed January 22, 2021.
Veterans Health Administration/Department of Defense (VA/DoD). Clinical practice guideline for the management of stroke rehabilitation. VA/DoD 2019, provider summary can be found at VA/DoD 2019, synopsis can be found in Ann Intern Med 2019 Dec 17;171(12):916.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 1/22/2021

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