Effects of training with a passive hand orthosis and games at home in chronic stroke: a pilot randomised controlled trial

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Abstract

Objectives:

To compare user acceptance and arm and hand function changes after technology-supported training at home with conventional exercises in chronic stroke. Secondly, to investigate the relation between training duration and clinical changes.

Design:

A randomised controlled trial.

Setting:

Training at home, evaluation at research institute.

Subjects:

Twenty chronic stroke patients with severely to mildly impaired arm and hand function.

Interventions:

Participants were randomly assigned to six weeks (30 minutes per day, six days a week) of self-administered home-based arm and hand training using either a passive dynamic wrist and hand orthosis combined with computerised gaming exercises (experimental group) or prescribed conventional exercises from an exercise book (control group).

Main measures:

Main outcome measures are the training duration for user acceptance and the Action Research Arm Test for arm and hand function. Secondary outcomes are the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, Fugl-Meyer assessment, Motor Activity Log, Stroke Impact Scale and grip strength.

Results:

The control group reported a higher training duration (189 versus 118 minutes per week, P = 0.025). Perceived motivation was positive and equal between groups (P = 0.935). No differences in clinical outcomes over training between groups were found (P ≥ 0.165). Changes in Box and Block Test correlated positively with training duration (P = 0.001).

Conclusions:

Both interventions were accepted. An additional benefit of technology-supported arm and hand training over conventional arm and hand exercises at home was not demonstrated. Training duration in itself is a major contributor to arm and hand function improvements.

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