Clinical Application of Virtual Reality for Upper Limb Motor Rehabilitation in Stroke: Review of Technologies and Clinical Evidence
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do 13620, Korea
Delvine Inc., Seoul 08788, Korea
Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Medicine, Keimyung University, Daegu 42601, Korea
Ybrain Research Institute, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do 13449, Korea
Department of Electronics and Information, Korea University, Sejong 30019, Korea
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(10), 3369; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103369
Received: 22 September 2020 / Revised: 14 October 2020 / Accepted: 19 October 2020 / Published: 21 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Technology Application for Clinical Neurorehabilitation)
Neurorehabilitation for stroke is important for upper limb motor recovery. Conventional rehabilitation such as occupational therapy has been used, but novel technologies are expected to open new opportunities for better recovery. Virtual reality (VR) is a technology with a set of informatics that provides interactive environments to patients. VR can enhance neuroplasticity and recovery after a stroke by providing more intensive, repetitive, and engaging training due to several advantages, including: (1) tasks with various difficulty levels for rehabilitation, (2) augmented real-time feedback, (3) more immersive and engaging experiences, (4) more standardized rehabilitation, and (5) safe simulation of real-world activities of daily living. In this comprehensive narrative review of the application of VR in motor rehabilitation after stroke, mainly for the upper limbs, we cover: (1) the technologies used in VR rehabilitation, including sensors; (2) the clinical application of and evidence for VR in stroke rehabilitation; and (3) considerations for VR application in stroke rehabilitation. Meta-analyses for upper limb VR rehabilitation after stroke were identified by an online search of Ovid-MEDLINE, Ovid-EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and KoreaMed. We expect that this review will provide insights into successful clinical applications or trials of VR for motor rehabilitation after stroke.