The Effects of Virtual Reality Training on Function in Chronic Stroke Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Biomed Res Int. 2019 Jun 18;2019:7595639. doi: 10.1155/2019/7595639. eCollection 2019.


Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a meta-analysis to examine whether virtual reality (VR) training is effective for lower limb function as well as upper limb and overall function in chronic stroke patients.

Methods: Three databases, OVID, PubMed, and EMBASE, were used to collect articles. The search terms used were "cerebrovascular accident (CVA)," "stroke", and "virtual reality". Consequently, twenty-one studies were selected in the second screening of meta-analyses. The PEDro scale was used to assess the quality of the selected studies.

Results: The total effect size for VR rehabilitation programs was 0.440. The effect size for upper limb function was 0.431, for lower limb function it was 0.424, and for overall function it was 0.545. The effects of VR programs on specific outcomes were most effective for improving muscle tension, followed by muscle strength, activities of daily living (ADL), joint range of motion, gait, balance, and kinematics.

Conclusion: The VR training was effective in improving the function in chronic stroke patients, corresponding to a moderate effect size. Moreover, VR training showed a similar effect for improving lower limb function as it did for upper limb function.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiopathology
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Video Games
  • Virtual Reality*