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SYSTEMATIC REVIEW   Free accessfree

European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2022 August;58(4):612-20

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.22.06794-6


language: English

On the use of virtual reality for individuals with upper limb loss: a systematic scoping review

Nur A. HASHIM 1, Nasrul A. ABD RAZAK 1 , Thilagavathi SHANMUGANATHAN 1, Rafidah A. JALADIN 1, Hossein GHOLIZADEH 2, Noor A. ABU OSMAN 1

1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2 Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada

INTRODUCTION: Virtual reality has recently become a popular application for rehabilitation and motor control research. This technology has emerged as a valid addition to conventional therapy and promises a successful rehabilitation. This study describes recent research related to the use of virtual reality applications in the rehabilitation of individuals with upper limb loss and to see whether this technology has enough proof of its applicability.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: Searches were conducted with the Web of Science, Google Scholar, IEEE Xplore, and PubMed databases from inception up to September 2020. Articles that employed virtual reality in the rehabilitation of individual with upper limb loss were included in the research if it is written in English, the keyword exists in the title and abstract; it uses visual feedback in nonimmersive, semi-immersive, or fully immersive virtual environments. Data extraction was carried out by two independent researchers. The study was drafted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis Protocols (PRISMA).
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: A total of 38 articles met the inclusion criteria. Most studies were published between 2010 and 2020. Thirty-nine percent of the studies (N.=15), originates from North America; 55% of the studies (N.=21), were publicly funded; 61% of the studies (N.=24), was without disclosure of conflict of interest; 82% of the studies (N.=31), were cited in other studies. All the studies were published in journals and conference proceedings. Sixty-six percent of the studies (N.=25) has come out with positive outcome. The design studies were mostly case reports, case series, and poorly designed cohort studies that made up 55% (N.=21) of all the studies cited here.
CONCLUSIONS: The research conducted on the use of virtual reality in individual with upper limb loss rehabilitation is of very low quality. The improvements to the research protocol are much needed. It is not necessary to develop new devices, but rather to assess existing devices with well-conducted randomized controlled trials.

KEY WORDS: Virtual reality; Amputees; Rehabilitation; Therapy; Systematic review

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