Volume 228 (2012) Issue 1 Pages 69-74
Stroke is one of the most serious healthcare problems and a major cause of impairment of cognition and physical functions. Virtual rehabilitation approaches to postural control have been used for enhancing functional recovery that may lead to a decrease in the risk of falling. In the present study, we investigated the effects of virtual reality balance training (VRBT) with a balance board game system on balance of chronic stroke patients. Participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups: VRBT group (11 subjects including 3 women, 65.26 years old) and control group (11 subjects including 5 women, 63.13 years old). Both groups participated in a standard rehabilitation program (physical and occupational therapy) for 60 min a day, 5 times a week for 6 weeks. In addition, the VRBT group participated in VRBT for 30 min a day, 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Static balance (postural sway velocity with eyes open or closed) was evaluated with the posturography. Dynamic balance was evaluated with the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and Timed Up and Go test (TUG) that measures balance and mobility in dynamic balance. There was greater improvement on BBS (4.00 vs. 2.81 scores) and TUG (−1.33 vs. −0.52 sec) in the VRBT group compared with the control group (P < 0.05), but not on static balance in both groups. In conclusion, we demonstrate a significant improvement in dynamic balance in chronic stroke patients with VRBT. VRBT is feasible and suitable for chronic stroke patients with balance deficit in clinical settings.