To develop a systematic review of the literature, to describe the different virtual reality (VR) interventions and interactive videogames applied to the lower extremity (LE) of stroke patients, and to analyse the results according to the most frequently used outcome measures.
Material and Methods
An electronic search of randomized trials between January 2004 and January 2014 in different databases (Medline, Cinahl, Web of Science, PEDro, and Cochrane) was carried out. Several terms (virtual reality, feedback, stroke, hemiplegia, brain injury, cerebrovascular accident, lower limb, leg, and gait) were combined, and finally 11 articles were included according to the established inclusion and exclusion criteria.
The reviewed trials showed a high heterogeneity in terms of study design and assessment tools, which makes it difficult to compare and analyze the different types of interventions. However, most of them found a significant improvement on gait speed, balance and motor function, due to VR intervention.
Although evidence is limited, it suggests that VR intervention (more than 10 sessions) in stroke patients may have a positive impact on balance, and gait recovery. Better results were obtained when a multimodal approach, combining VR and conventional physiotherapy, was used. Flexible software seems to adapt better to patients’ requirements, allowing more specific and individual treatments.