Effects of Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Training on Cognitive Function and Activities of Daily Living of Patients With Poststroke Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Published:April 09, 2022DOI:



      To determine the effects of virtual reality (VR) rehabilitation training on the cognitive function and activities of daily living (ADL) of patients with poststroke cognitive impairment (PSCI).

      Data Sources

      Four Chinese databases and 6 English databases were systematically searched for studies published until August 31, 2021, by using Medical Subject Headings of the National Library of Medicine terms such as virtual reality, cognition disorders, cognitive dysfunction, and stroke and free terms such as virtual environment, VR, cognition impairment, cerebrovascular accident, and PSCI.

      Study Selection

      Randomized controlled trials treating PSCI with VR training were included. The control groups received conventional treatments such as conventional rehabilitation training and drug therapy; the experimental groups received VR rehabilitation training. The outcome measures were cognitive function and ADL.

      Data Extraction

      Two researchers independently extracted key information from eligible studies. The methodological quality of the studies was evaluated using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions v5.1.0. Meta-analysis was performed using RevMan v5.4. We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses 2020 guidelines.

      Data Synthesis

      Twenty-one studies (1149 participants) were included. Meta-analyses found that compared with the control group, VR rehabilitation training increased Mini-Mental State Examination, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, Loewenstein Occupational Therapy Cognitive Assessment, Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test Second Edition, Barthel Index, Modified Barthel Index, and FIM scores; event-related potential 300 (P300) amplitude; and the N-acetylaspartate/creatinine (Cr) ratio on proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) and reduced P300 latency; Trail Making Test scores; and the choline-containing compounds/Cr ratio on 1H-MRS (all P<.05). These results indicated that VR training improved cognitive function and ADL in PSCI.


      VR rehabilitation training promotes the rehabilitation of cognitive function and recovery of ADL in patients with PSCI and may be a good complementary approach to conventional cognitive interventions.


      List of abbreviations:

      ADL (activities of daily living), BI (Barthel Index), Cho (choline-containing compounds), Cr (creatinine), 1H-MRS (proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy), LOTCA (Loewenstein Occupational Therapy Cognitive Assessment), MBI (Modified Barthel Index), MD (mean difference), MMSE (Mini-Mental State Examination), MoCA (Montreal Cognitive Assessment), NAA (N-acetylaspartate), OR (odds ratio), PSCI (poststroke cognitive impairment), P300 (event-related potential 300), RBMT-II (Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test Second Edition), RCT (randomized controlled trial), TMT (Trail Making Test), VR (virtual reality), WAIS-III (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Ⅲ)
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