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Effectiveness of virtual reality on functional performance after spinal cord injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
de Miguel-Rubio A, Rubio MD, Salazar A, Camacho R, Lucena-Anton D
Journal of Clinical Medicine 2020 Jul;9(7):2065
systematic review

A spinal cord injury (SCI) usually results in a significant limitation in the functional outcomes, implying a challenge to the performance of activities of daily living. The main aim of this study is to analyze the effectiveness of virtual reality to improve functional performance in patients with SCI. The search was performed between October and December 2019 in Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Embase. The methodological quality of the studies was evaluated through the PEDro scale, and the risk of bias was evaluated with the Cochrane collaboration's tool. Seven articles were included in this systematic review, and five of them in the meta-analysis. Statistical analysis showed favorable results for functional performance in control group performing conventional therapy, measured by the functional independence measure (standardized mean difference (SMD) -0.70; 95% confidence interval -1.25 to -0.15). Results were inconclusive for other outcomes. Most studies have not shown beneficial effects on functional performance compared with conventional physical therapy. The results obtained showed that virtual reality may not be more effective than conventional physical therapy in improving functional performance in patients with SCI.

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