[Abstract] The Effects of Vestibular Rehabilitation on Gait Performance in Patients with Stroke: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Abstract

Background: Patients with post-stroke hemiparesis have poor postural stability; nevertheless, it is unclear whether vestibular rehabilitation affects gait performance after a stroke or not. We performed a systematic review of randomized controlled trials to investigate the effects of vestibular rehabilitation on gait performance in patients with post stroke.

Methods: The Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases were comprehensively searched. All literature published from each source’s earliest date to June 2019 was included. Study selection and data extraction were performed independently by paired reviewers. Outcomes of gait performance were the 10-Meter Walking Test, Timed Up and Go Test, and Dynamic Gait Index. We applied the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale to evaluate the risk of bias and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system to evaluate the quality of a body of evidence.

Results: Three studies were included, and two out of three trials showed beneficial effects of vestibular rehabilitation in post-stroke patients. Quality assessment using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation criteria found very low-quality evidence of all included studies due to inadequate allocation concealment, low participant numbers, and lack of blinding.

Conclusion: This review found beneficial effects of vestibular rehabilitation on gait performance in patients with stroke. However, due to the very low-quality evidence of previous randomized controlled trials as assessed by the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation criteria, definitive conclusions on the effectiveness of vestibular rehabilitation cannot be made. Hence, more high-quality and large-scale randomized controlled trials of vestibular rehabilitation after stroke are needed.

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