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Effect of virtual reality training on balance and gait ability in patients with stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis
de Rooij IJM, van de Port IGL, Meijer J-WG
Physical Therapy 2016 Dec;96(12):1905-1918
systematic review

BACKGROUND: Virtual reality (VR) training is considered to be a promising novel therapy for balance and gait recovery in patients with stroke. PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic literature review with meta-analysis to investigate whether balance or gait training using VR is more effective than conventional balance or gait training in patients with stroke. DATA SOURCES: A literature search was carried out in the databases PubMed, Embase, Medline, and Cochrane Library up to December 1, 2015. STUDY SELECTION: Randomized controlled trials that compared the effect of balance or gait training with and without VR on balance and gait ability in patients with stroke were included. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Twenty-one studies with a median PEDro score of 6.0 were included. The included studies demonstrated a significant greater effect of VR training on balance and gait recovery after stroke compared with conventional therapy as indicated with the most frequently used measures: gait speed, Berg Balance Scale, and Timed "Up and Go" Test. Virtual reality was more effective to train gait and balance than conventional training when VR interventions were added to conventional therapy and when time dose was matched. LIMITATIONS: The presence of publication bias and diversity in included studies were limitations of the study. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that VR training is more effective than balance or gait training without VR for improving balance or gait ability in patients with stroke. Future studies are recommended to investigate the effect of VR on participation level with an adequate follow-up period. Overall, a positive and promising effect of VR training on balance and gait ability is expected.

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