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Keywords:

  • Driver's license;
  • neglect;
  • neuropsychological assessment;
  • stroke

Seventy-two stroke patients, 43 with right hemisphere (RHD) and 29 with left hemisphere damage (LHD), and 7 coronary infarct controls with no evidence of cerebral damage, were neuropsychologically tested as part of an assessment program for driver's license. Mean age in the group was 53 years. Stroke patients were tested on average 4 months post injury. The groups did not differ on major demographic variables except that RHD patients were more often hemiplegic than LHD patients. The test battery was factor analyzed into 4 valid principal components: (I) visual perception, (II) spatial attention, (III) visuospatial processing, and (IV) language/praxis. The presence of hemianopia (factor I) excludes driving. In addition, measures of neglect and reduced speed of mental processing from factor II, III and IV, were found to be the most discriminating variables when classifying patients for driving. Even though neglect was more frequently observed among RHD than LHD patients, the two hemisphere groups did not differ significantly in number of patients denied driving, 58% RHD compared to 41% LHD patients. The need for comprehensive neuropsychological assessment is underlined.