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J Rehabil Med. 2009 Nov;41(12):1016-102. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0459.

Exercises for paretic upper limb after stroke: a combined virtual-reality and telemedicine approach.

Author information

  • 11IRCCS San Camillo Hospital Venezia, Venezia, Italy. pironl@tin.it

Abstract

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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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