Does the use of Nintendo Wii SportsTM improve arm function? Trial of WiiTM in Stroke: a randomized controlled trial and economics analysis

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Objective:The Trial of Wii™ in Stroke investigated the efficacy of using the Nintendo Wii Sports™ (WiiTM) to improve affected arm function after stroke.Design:Multicentre, pragmatic, parallel group, randomized controlled trial.Setting:Home-based rehabilitation.Subjects:A total of 240 participants aged 24–90 years with arm weakness following a stroke within the previous six months.Intervention:Participants were randomly assigned to exercise daily for six weeks using the WiiTM or arm exercises at home.Main measures:Primary outcome was change in the affected arm function at six weeks follow-up using the Action Research Arm Test. Secondary outcomes included occupational performance, quality of life, arm function at six months and a cost effectiveness analysis.Results:The study was completed by 209 participants (87.1%). There was no significant difference in the primary outcome of affected arm function at six weeks follow-up (mean difference −1.7, 95% CI −3.9 to 0.5, p = 0.12) and no significant difference in secondary outcomes, including occupational performance, quality of life or arm function at six months, between the two groups. No serious adverse events related to the study treatment were reported. The cost effectiveness analysis showed that the WiiTM was more expensive than arm exercises £1106 (SD 1656) vs. £730 (SD 829) (probability 0.866).Conclusion:The trial showed that the WiiTM was not superior to arm exercises in home-based rehabilitation for stroke survivors with arm weakness. The WiiTM was well tolerated but more expensive than arm exercises.

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