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Use of low-cost virtual reality in the treatment of the upper extremity in chronic stroke: a randomized clinical trial.

BACKGROUND: Chronicity and lack of motivation often go together during the upper limb rehabilitation process in stroke. Virtual reality is a useful tool in this context, providing safe, intensive, individualised treatments in a playful environment. B-cost, easy-to-use devices with personalised and motivating games for a specific population seem to be the most effective option in the treatment of the upper limbs.

METHODS: A randomised clinical study with follow-up was carried out to assess the effectiveness of the Leap Motion Controller® device in improving the functionality of the upper limb in patients with chronic stroke. Patients (n = 36) were randomised into a control group that performed conventional therapy and an experimental group that combined the virtual reality protocol with conventional therapy. The outcome measures used were grip strength; the Block and Box Test; the Action Research Arm Test; the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand; as well as a Technology Satisfaction Questionnaire and adherence to treatment.

RESULTS: Inter-group statistical analysis showed no significant differences except in subsection D of the Action Research Arm Test. Intra-group analysis showed significant differences in both groups, but the experimental group reached significance in all long-term variables. Satisfaction and adherence levels were very high.

CONCLUSIONS: The Leap Motion Controller® system, as a complementary tool, produces improvements in grip strength, dexterity and motor function in patients with chronic stroke. It is perceived as a safe, motivating, and easy-to-use device.

CLINICAL REGISTRATION: NCT04166617 Clinical Trials.

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