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July 25, 1959


Author Affiliations

Philadelphia; Camden, N. J.

Staff Surgeon, Department of Thoracic Surgery (Dr. Bolton), Chief, Department of Cardiology (Dr. Andrus), and Intern (Dr. Hessert), West Jersey Hospital, Camden, N. J.

JAMA. 1959;170(13):1545-1546. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.63010130003012a

Orthostatic aphasia is a term applied to that condition in which the patient becomes aphasic when in the sitting or upright position. The cause of this phenomenon is unknown. However, it must be assumed that there exists a relative ischemia affecting the essential centers and/or the associated fiber tracts which control the motor function of speech. When a patient is in the supine position there is adequate blood supply to these areas, permitting them to function normally. Resumption of the upright position slightly diminishes this blood supply, resulting in the production of cerebral ischemia and aphasia.

After cardiac surgery numerous complications may occur. Arterial embolization during the correction of mitral stenosis is not uncommon. Bolton and Bailey1 have reported various neurological and neuropsychiatric phenomena in the cardiac patient after surgery. However, in a series of well over 2,000 such patients operated on for valvular lesions, Bolton and Musser2