The primary aim was to examine the utility of the Western Aphasia Battery–Revised (WAB-R; Kertesz, 2007) for classifying variants of primary progressive aphasia (PPA). Traditional WAB-R metrics of Aphasia Quotient (AQ), subtest scores, WAB-R classification, and several novel metrics were examined. A secondary aim was to examine these same WAB-R metrics in individuals with primary progressive apraxia of speech (PPAOS).


A retrospective analysis of WAB-R records from 169 participants enrolled in a study of neurodegenerative speech and language disorders was conducted. PPA/PPAOS classification was determined by consensus review of speech, language, and cognitive profiles. Scores on each of the WAB-R subtests were obtained to derive AQ, WAB-R aphasia profile, and 3 ratios reflecting relative performance on subtests.


Mean AQ was significantly higher in the PPAOS group compared to all PPA variants except primary fluent aphasia. AQ above the normal cutoff was observed for 20% of participants with PPA. Significant main effects of group were noted for each of the subtests. Follow-up comparisons most frequently discriminated PPAOS, primary agrammatic aphasia (PAA), and logopenic progressive aphasia. Primary fluent aphasia and semantic dementia (SD) subtest scores were less distinctive, with the exception of Naming for SD, which was significantly lower than for PAA and PPAOS. When the WAB-R AQ detected aphasia, a classification of anomic aphasia was most frequently observed; this pattern held true for each of the PPA variants. The mean Information Content:Naming ratio was highest for SD, and the mean Comprehension:Fluency ratio was highest for PAA.


In the current study, AQ underestimated the presence of PPA and WAB-R classification did not distinguish among PPA classification determined by consensus. Performance on individual subtests and relative performance across subtests demonstrated inconsistent alignment with PPA classification. We conclude the WAB-R in isolation is inadequate to detect or characterize PPA. We instead suggest utilizing the WAB-R as 1 component of a comprehensive language and motor speech assessment when PPA is suspected.


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