The Effect of Virtual Reality Intervention Programs on the Functionality of Children and Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy. A Systematic Review

Nikolaos Chrysagis, Despoina Panagou, Kouzagioti Erasmia Maria, Efstathia M Vlachou, Vasiliki Sakellari, George A Koumantakis


Background: Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder of movement and posture. Recent studies have shown that Virtual Reality (VR) is a useful and low-cost tool used in treating children and adolescents with cerebral palsy. Nevertheless, there is no substantial evidence supporting that VR therapy can help CP patients, not only as the primary treatment, but as a supplement. Objectives: The present systematic review aimed to investigate the effectiveness of VR intervention programs on the functional capacity of children and adolescents with CP, according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Methods: A systematic online search was conducted in PubMed, Scopus, and PEDro databases, as well as in the Google Scholar search engine, from inception till September 2022. The methodological quality of included studies was rated with the PEDro scale. Results: Twenty-two randomized-controlled trials were eligible for inclusion. The results indicated that there was a significant improvement after the implementation, of interventional VR programs, in balance and visual perception, while the results were controversial for muscle strength, coordination, gross motor function, gait, upper limb function, independence in activities of Daily Life Activities and participation. Conclusion: Significant balance and visual perception improvements may result from VR programs applied in children and adolescents with CP. Important factors that may influence the results are the functional level of the participants, the sample size, the context in which the therapeutic intervention is carried out (rehabilitation center, home), and the conventional treatments that the VR intervention programs are compared against.


“Cerebral palsy”, “Children”, “Adolescents”, “Virtual reality”, “Balance”, “Fine motor function”, “Gross motor function”, “Participation”

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