Six studies (n=96) were included: 2 RCTs (n=34), 3 pre-test post-test studies (n=61) and a single-case study (n=1).
Immersive VR versus no therapy: one good-quality RCT (10 chronic stroke patients; PEDro score 8) reported statistically significant improvements for the VR group compared with controls for rehabilitation of the upper limb (motor impairment (Fugl-Meyer Arm Scale, FM) and functional measures (Box and Blocks Test and the Manual Function Test). One single-case study reported improvements post-treatment in manual dexterity, grip force and control of affected limb. Both studies used reliable and valid outcome measures.
Immersive VR versus conventional therapy: no studies were identified.
Non-immersive VR versus no therapy: 3 pre-test post-test studies reported different results. Two studies reported a significant difference post-treatment in change scores for motor impairment: FM and FIM scales in one study of 50 acute stroke patients, and the FM and the Wolf Motor Function Test in the other study of 9 chronic stroke patients. One study of 2 chronic stroke patients reported little or no change post-treatment in the FM and Structured Assessment of Independent Living Skills scores.
Immersive VR versus conventional therapy: one poor-quality RCT (24 acute stroke patients; PEDro score 3) reported no significant difference between patients in the VR and control group for motor impairment (FM and FIM scores).