Background: Stroke is a major cause of life-long disability in adults, associated with poor quality of life. Virtual reality (VR)-based therapy systems are known to be helpful in improving motor functions following stroke, but recent clinical findings have not been included in the previous publications of meta-analysis studies.
Aims: This meta-analysis was based on the available literature to evaluate the therapeutic potential of VR as compared to dose-matched conventional therapies (CT) in patients with stroke.
Methods: We retrieved relevant articles in EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, and Web of Science published between 2010 and February 2019. Peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials that compared VR with CT were included.
Results: A total of 27 studies met the inclusion criteria. The analysis indicated that the VR group showed statistically significant improvement in the recovery of UL function (Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity [FM-UE]: n = 20 studies, Mean Difference [MD] = 3.84, P = .01), activity (Box and Block Test [BBT]: n = 13, MD = 3.82, P = .04), and participation (Motor Activity Log [MAL]: n = 6, MD = 0.8, P = .0001) versus the control group.
Conclusion: VR appears to be a promising therapeutic technology for UL motor rehabilitation in patients with stroke.