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Top Stroke Rehabil. 2013 Mar-Apr;20(2):171-88. doi: 10.1310/tsr2002-171.

Assessing the efficacy of different upper limb hemiparesis interventions on improving health-related quality of life in stroke patients: a systematic review.

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Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.



This review aims to assess the efficacy of upper limb interventions on stroke survivors' health-related quality of life (QOL).


Published studies were identified following a systematic search of the literature from 10 electronic databases, 3 subject-relevant journals, a Web search via a popular search engine, and reference lists of the included articles. In total, 22 articles met the inclusion criteria and were subjected to data extraction to establish the effectiveness of the intervention on QOL scores. Interventions varied according to their content, including acupuncture treatment, botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) injections, constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT), task training, and therapeutic exercise. Studies were required to have at least 1 quantitative outcome QOL measure.


Of the 22 studies, 12 reported significant findings within groups and between control groups. Interventions including BTX-A injections, CIMT, exercise programs, baclofen pump, robotic-assisted therapy, electrical stimulation, and acupuncture were reported to significantly improve either overall health-related QOL or certain individual QOL domains, such as strength, hand function, memory, mood, activities of daily living, mobility, social participation, communication, energy, pain, and sleep.


The review demonstrates the need for upper limb intervention studies to focus on QOL as a primary outcome measure in addition to the functional outcomes currently used.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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