Effects of virtual reality in post-stroke aphasia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Yun Cao, Xing Huang, Binlong Zhang, Georg S. Kranz, Danli Zhang, Xiaolin Li, Jingling Chang (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate whether virtual reality (VR) interventions have beneficial effects on the functional communication and language function of patients with post-stroke aphasia (PSA). Methods: We searched nine electronic literature databases and two clinical registry platforms to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs performed up to September 2020. Screening, quality assessment, and data collection were performed by two authors independently, using standard protocols. Data aggregation and risk of bias evaluation were conducted using Review Manager Version 5.4. The quality of evidence was evaluated with GRADEpro. Results: A total of five studies involving 121 participants met the inclusion criteria and were appraised. Four studies were included in the quantitative synthesis. VR reduced the severity of language impairment with borderline significance [SMD (95%CI) = 0.70[0.01, 1.39], P=0.05]. The meta-analysis showed no statistical difference in functional communication [SMD (95%CI) =0.41[−0.29, 1.12], P=0.25], word finding [SMD (95%CI) =0.42[−0.24, 1.08], P=0.21], and repetition [SMD (95%CI) =0.16[−0.62, 0.94], P=0.68] between VR group and the control group. Conclusion: This review demonstrated a borderline positive clinical effect of VR for the severity of language impairment when compared with conventional rehabilitation therapy. Conversely, VR had no effect on functional communication, word finding, and repetition. Further research is warranted to reach more definite conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5249-5259
Number of pages11
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2021


  • Aphasia
  • Meta-analysis
  • Rehabilitation
  • Systematic review
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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