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Visual Span Forward
Availability
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: Visual Span Forward
OR
Availability: The test with instructions in German can be found at: https://www.testzentrale.ch/shop/block-tapping-test.html.
Classification
Exploratory: Unruptured Cerebral Aneurysm and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH)
Short Description of Instrument
Visual Span Forward is a widely used test for the assessment of visuospatial short-term memory, both in clinical and experimental research settings. The task consists of 9 cubes mounted on a board. The examiner taps a sequence of blocks, which the participant has to repeat in sequential order. The sequence length gets progressively longer. It has been used in patients with Alzheimer's disease, Korsakoff's syndrome, schizophrenia and focal brain lesions following surgery or cerebrovascular disease.  
 
Healthy control average: 6.2 ± 1.3. Performance level of more than 1.3 SD below control mean is "borderline" and a performance of more than 2 SD below the control mean is classified as "retarded" (following the criteria of Lezak 1995; Lezak et al., 2012).
 
Reliability:
 
The reliability of the test is described as 0.95.
 
Normative data:
 
Available for n=213 persons aged 15–65 years. Only little influence was found for different sex, age and level of education.
Comments
Naming: Also known as the Corsi Block-Tapping Task.
 
Execution time: Depending on the mnestic function of the examined person around 5 min (maximum 10).
Scoring
Consists of 2 different scores:
 
1) Block Span = The length of the last correctly repeated sequence (range 2–9).  
 
2) Total Score = Number of correct trials, which takes into account performance on both trials of an equal length and is thus more reliable (range 2–144).
Rationale/Justification
This test is used since the 1970s for a broad variety of diseases and conditions. It is likewise simple to perform and score. Digit span forward and backward have been used frequently in SAH research, as outlined by Al-Khindi, et al. (2010). The Swiss national standard of neuropsychological assessment after SAH includes the visual span forward.
References
Corsi PM. (1972). Human memory and the medial temporal region of the brain. Dissertation Abstracts International, 34, 819B.
 
Additional References:
 
Al-Khindi T, Macdonald RL, Schweizer TA. Cognitive and functional outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Stroke. 2010;41(8):e519–e536.
 
Kessels RP, van Zandvoort MJ, Postma A, Kappelle LJ, de Haan EH (2000) The Corsi Block-Tapping Task: standardization and normative data. Appl Neuropsychol. 2000;7:252–258.
 
Lezak MD (1995) Neuropsychological Assessment (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
 
Lezak MD, Howieson DB, Bigler ED, Tranel D. (2012) Neuropsychological Assessment (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
 
Stienen MN, Zweifel-Zehnder AE, Chicherio M, Studerus-Germann A, Bläsi S, Rossi S, Gutbrod K, Schmid N, Beaud V, Mondadori C, Brugger P, Sacco L, Müri R, Hildebrandt G, Keller E, Regli L, Fandino J, Mariani L, Raabe A, Daniel RT, Reinert M, Robert R, Schatlo B, Bijlenga P, Schaller K, Monsch AU, on behalf of the Swiss SOS study group. Neuropsychological testing after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Swiss Medical Forum. 2015;15(48):1122–1127.
 
Zweifel-Zehnder AE, Stienen MN, Chicherio C, Studerus-Germann A, Bläsi S, Rossi S, Gutbrod K, Schmid N, Beaud V, Mondadori C, Brugger P, Sacco L, Müri R, Hildebrandt G, Fournier JY, Keller E, Regli L, Fandino J, Mariani L, Raabe A, Daniel RT, Reinert M, Robert T, Schatlo B, Bijlenga P, Schaller K, Monsch AU; Swiss SOS study group. Call for uniform neuropsychological assessment after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage: Swiss recommendations. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2015;157(9):1449–1458.
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