Effect of Traditional plus Virtual Reality Rehabilitation on Prognosis of Stroke Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Apr 28. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001775. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Virtual reality (VR) technology has begun to be gradually applied to clinical stroke rehabilitation. The study aims to evaluate the effect of traditional plus VR rehabilitation on motor function recovery, balance, and activities of daily living in stroke patients.

Method: Studies published in English prior to October 2020 were retrieved from PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library. and used RevMan 5.3 software for meta-analysis.

Result: A total of 21 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included, which enrolled 619 patients. Traditional plus VR rehabilitation is better than traditional rehabilitation in upper limb motor function recovery measured by Fugl-Meyer Assessment-Upper Extremity (mean difference [MD] 3.49; 95% CI [1.24, 5.73]; P=.002) and manual dexterity assessed by Box & Block Test (MD 6.59; 95% CI [3.45, 9.74]; P<.0001); However, there is no significant difference from traditional rehabilitation in activities of daily living assessed by Functional Independence Measure (MD 0.38; 95% CI [-0.26, 1.02]; P=.25) and balance assessed by Berg Balance Scale (MD 2.18; 95% CI [-0.35, 4.71]; P=.09).

Conclusion: Traditional plus VR rehabilitation therapy is an effective method to improve the upper limb motor function and manual dexterity of patients with limb disorders after stroke, and immersive VR rehabilitation treatment may become a new option for rehabilitation after stroke.