Background: Stroke is one of the leading causes of long term disability for adults and costs the healthcare system 34 billion dollars annually.1-3 Directly after a stroke up to 85% of survivors have an impairment of the upper extremity.4 Previous research has shown mirror therapy (MT) is beneficial for improving function in the upper extremity.5-16
Objective: The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the efficacy of MT in addition to conventional therapy (CT) versus CT alone in the different stages of stroke rehabilitation including the acute and chronic. 5,7-17
Methods: A literature review was conducted in the fall of 2018 and consisted of the following databases: Pubmed, Medline, and CINAHL. The studies were assessed and reviewed on the specified inclusion/exclusion criteria. A fixed effect size model of 2 groups was used for the included studies to generate the Q-value, P-value, effect size, and confidence interval.
Results: The results favored MT in addition to CT as compared to CT alone in all stages of stroke rehabilitation. MT in addition to CT used in the acute stage of stroke rehabilitation was favored over MT in addition to CT used in the chronic stage of stroke rehabilitation.
Conclusion: This meta-analysis supports current literature that MT in addition to CT is more effective in improving upper extremity function than CT alone in all stages of stroke rehabilitation. The minimal to moderate effect found in the acute stage of stroke rehabilitation suggests that MT in addition to CT is more beneficial in the acute stage of stroke rehabilitation as compared to use in the chronic stage of stroke rehabilitation. The evidence should, however, be interpreted with caution until further studies are included.