Immersive Virtual Reality in Post-Stroke Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review

Sensors (Basel). 2023 Feb 3;23(3):1712. doi: 10.3390/s23031712.


In recent years, next to conventional rehabilitation's techniques, new technologies have been applied in stroke rehabilitation. In this context, fully immersive virtual reality (FIVR) has showed interesting results thanks to the level of immersion of the subject in the illusional world, with the feeling of being a real part of the virtual environment. This study aims to investigate the efficacy of FIVR in stroke rehabilitation. PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus were screened up to November 2022 to identify eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Out of 4623, we included 12 RCTs involving post-acute and chronic stroke survivors, with a total of 350 patients (234 men and 115 women; mean age 58.36 years). High heterogeneity of the outcomes considered, the results showed that FIVR provides additional benefits, in comparison with standard rehabilitation. In particular, results showed an improvement in upper limb dexterity, gait performance and dynamic balance, influencing patient independence. Therefore, FIVR represents an adaptable, multi-faceted rehabilitation tool that can be considered in post-stroke rehabilitation, improving the compliance of the patients to the treatment and increasing the level of functioning and quality of life of stroke survivors.

Keywords: rehabilitation; stroke; virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stroke Rehabilitation* / methods
  • Stroke* / therapy
  • Virtual Reality*

Grants and funding

Project funded under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), Mission 4 Component 2 Investment 1.5—Call for tender No. 3277 of 30/12/2021 of Italian Ministry of University and Research funded by the European Union—NextGenerationEU. Award Number: Project code ECS00000033, Concession Decree No. 1052 of 23/06/2022 adopted by the Italian Ministry of University and Research, CUP D93C22000460001, “Ecosystem for Sustainable Transition in Emilia-Romagna” (Ecosister).