Efficacy of constraint-induced movement therapy compared with bimanual intensive training in children with unilateral cerebral palsy: a systematic review

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Abstract

Objective:

To systematically review the evidence on the effect of constraint-induced movement therapy compared with bimanual intensive training in children with unilateral cerebral palsy.

Data sources:

Seven electronic databases (Cinahl, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE, PEDro, PsycINFO, PubMed) were searched from database inception through December 2016.

Methods:

A systematic review was performed using the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis guidelines. Standardised mean differences (effect sizes) were calculated for each study and outcome.

Results:

Nine studies met the eligibility criteria. All studies provided level II evidence. Methodological quality was high in two studies, moderate in four studies and low in three studies. The methodology, participant and intervention characteristics were heterogeneous. The participants’ ages ranged from 1.5 to 16 years. Their initial hand function ranged from Manual Ability Classification System Level I to Level III. The total intervention dose ranged from 24 to 210 hours and duration from one week to ten weeks. The studies measured outcomes assessing unimanual and bimanual hand and arm function, participation and attainment of individualised goals. Overall, the effect sizes did not favour one of the interventions at short- or long-term follow-up. The 95% confidence intervals were broad, indicating inaccurate precision of the effect sizes. Pooling of the data for a meta-analysis was judged to be of little clinical value owing to heterogeneity.

Conclusion:

It is not possible to conclude whether constraint-induced movement therapy or bimanual intensive training is more effective than the other in children with unilateral cerebral palsy.

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