Research Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 3, 106960, March 2023

Effects of virtual reality-based telerehabilitation for stroke patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials


      • Telerehabilitation provides an opportunity to deliver remote rehabilitation services.
      • Virtual reality shows promising clinical outcomes in stroke rehabilitation.
      • Combining telerehabilitation with virtual reality is a feasible approach to promote functional recovery.



      Telerehabilitation provides an essential opportunity to deliver continuous rehabilitation services for stroke patients at home, especially amid a global pandemic. Virtual reality is a simulation technology that has shown promising outcomes in stroke rehabilitation. Combining telerehabilitation and virtual reality is an emerging and innovative approach that enriches the rehabilitation experience and potentially enhances functional recovery outcomes. This review synthesized current evidence of using virtual reality-based telerehabilitation for patients after stroke and compared it with conventional in-person rehabilitation.


      Randomized controlled trials were searched across six databases published after 2000. Two independent reviewers conducted study selection, data extraction and quality assessment. The Physiotherapy Evidence Databases scale was used to evaluate the methodological quality. Qualitative synthesis and meta-analysis were conducted to compare functional outcomes after Virtual reality-based telerehabilitation with conventional in-person rehabilitation.


      Nine studies including 260 participants were selected from 933 relevant records. Seven studies met the criteria for good quality based on the Physiotherapy Evidence Databases scale, two studies were fair quality. Compared with conventional in-person rehabilitation, the meta-analysis indicated that virtual reality-based telerehabilitation had comparable outcomes of upper extremity function and balance function. Both groups demonstrated similar effects on outcomes in mobility, cognition, activities of daily life, and quality of life.


      Virtual reality-based telerehabilitation is an effective alternative approach for patients with stroke, given the barriers and restrictions of traditional in-person rehabilitation.

      Key Words


      PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guideline), SMD (Standardized Mean Difference)
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