Study designs of evaluations included in the review
All study designs except case series and case studies were eligible for inclusion.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of rehabilitation programmes were eligible for inclusion. The included studies assessed a range of different interventions including electrical stimulation, exercise (goal-directed versus rote), arm-training programmes and constraint-induced therapy.
Participants included in the review
Studies of people who had suffered a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) 10 days to 15 years previously, had unilateral or bilateral lesions resulting in CVA, and were undergoing rehabilitation for unilateral or bilateral mild to severe upper extremity hemiparesis were eligible for inclusion. Studies of patients receiving treatment for upper and lower extremity hemiparesis were excluded. The majority of the included studies were of participants who had suffered a unilateral stroke. The extent of motor dysfunction ranged from mild to severe and the length of time since stroke ranged from 10 days to 175 months.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Inclusion criteria for the outcomes were not specified. The included studies used multiple functional outcome measures including manual dexterity, reaction time, motor function and grip strength.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.