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Open Access Exercises for Paretic Upper Limb After Stroke: A Combined Virtual-Reality and Telemedicine Approach

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Objective: Telerehabilitation enables a remotely controlled programme to be used to treat motor deficits in post-stroke patients. The effects of this telerehabilitation approach were compared with traditional motor rehabilitation methods.

Design: Randomized single-blind controlled trial.

Patients: A total of 36 patients with mild arm motor impairments due to ischaemic stroke in the region of the middle cerebral artery.

Methods: The experimental treatment was a virtual reality-based system delivered via the Internet, which provided motor tasks to the patients from a remote rehabilitation facility. The control group underwent traditional physical therapy for the upper limb. Both treatments were of 4 weeks duration. All patients were assessed one month prior to therapy, at the commencement and termination of therapies and one month post-therapy, with the Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity, the ABILHAND and the Ashworth scales.

Results: Both rehabilitative therapies significantly improved all outcome scores after treatment, but only the Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity scale showed differences in the comparison between groups.

Conclusion: Both strategies were effective, but the experimental approach induced better outcomes in motor performance. These results may favour early discharge from hospital sustained by a telerehabilitation programme, with potential beneficial effects on the use of available resources.

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Keywords: STROKE; TELEMEDICINE; UPPER EXTREMITY; VIRTUAL REALITY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine is the international peer-reviewed journal published in English, with at least 10 issues published per year.

    Original articles, reviews, case reports, short communications, special reports and letters to the editor are published, as also are editorials and book reviews. The journal strives to provide its readers with a variety of topics including: functional assessment and intervention studies, clinical studies in various patient groups, methodology in physical and rehabilitation medicine, epidemiological studies on disabling conditions and reports on vocational and sociomedical aspects of rehabilitation.

    The journal is read by a wide group of healthcare professionals including specialists in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, clinical neurophysiology, general medicine, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers.

    Contributions from all parts of the world and from different professions in rehabilitation are welcome.

    ISI Impact Factor 2009: 1.882.

    Owned by Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.

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