Background: Stroke is a major cause of motor incapacity in adults and the elderly population, requiring effective interventions capable of contributing to rehabilitation. Different interventions such as use of exergames are being adopted in the motor rehabilitation and balance area, as they act as motivating instruments, making therapies more pleasurable.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of exergame on patients' balance and upper limb motor function after stroke.
Methods: This study is a randomized controlled trial. Thirty-one participants of both genders, mean age of 76 years, were assigned to the experimental or control groups; the experimental group (n = 16) underwent exergame rehabilitation using Motion Rehab AVE 3D, and the control group (n = 15) underwent conventional physiotherapy. Both EG and GC sessions happened twice a week, for 30 minutes each, over a 12 weeks period, resulting in 24 sessions. All sessions were composed of similar exercises, with same purpose and elapsed time (5 minutes). Instruments applied to verify inclusion criteria were a sociodemographic questionnaire and clinical aspects and a Mini-Mental State Examination. At baseline and after 12 weeks of intervention, the Modified Ashworth Scale, the Fugl-Meyer Assessment, and the Berg Balance Scale were used.
Results: In both groups, patients obtained significant improvement from baseline values in all analyzed variables (shoulder, elbow, and forearm; wrist; hand; and balance) (P < .001). In the intergroup comparison, there were significant differences between the 2 groups for changes in values from preintervention to postintervention of shoulder, elbow and forearm (P = .001), and total (P = .002).
Conclusion: Exergame rehabilitation in poststroke patients can be an efficient alternative for restoring balance and upper limb motor function and might even reduce treatment time.
Keywords: Stroke; physical therapy modalities; randomized controlled trial; video games.
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