Introduction: Despite the modest benefits of non-immersive virtual reality (VR) in small, single center studies, our largest trial (EVREST Muticentre) showed no significant difference in motor recovery when VR was compared to an active control. More crucial is to determine the presence of a treatment effect by evaluating respondents.
Methods: Adults <3 months of stroke with a Chedoke-McMaster >3 were randomized to receive VR using the Nintendo Wii™ gaming system (VRWii) vs. recreational activities (playing cards, ‘Jenga’, domino) (RA). All participants received usual care consisting of conventional rehabilitation at each center. Participants received an intensive program of 10 sessions of either VR or RA, 60 minutes each, over a 2-week period. The primary outcome was a difference in motor performance between groups using the Wolf Motor Function test (WMFT) at the end of the intervention. We defined respondents based on the accepted minimally clinically important difference (MCID) of ≥20% improvement from the baseline WMFT.1 Secondary outcomes included a MCID of 30% in the Stroke impact Scale (hand) and in the perception of improvement.2
Results: Between May 2012 and Oct, 2015, 141 patients received either VRWii (n=71) or RA (n=70). Mean age was 62±12 years. Overall, 63 (53%) participants achieved the MCID (47% % in the VRWii vs 58% RA; p=0.32) at the end of the intervention and 81% 4-weeks post intervention (74 % in the VRWii vs 87% RA; p= 0.21). The total duration of each intervention between respondents and non-respondents was similar (589±57 vs. 579±31 min; p=0.47). Multivariable analysis revealed no difference in the response to VRWii compared to RA (OR 0.63; 95%CI 0.30-1.33). Other outcomes are summarized in the Table.
Conclusions: The responder analysis in EVREST Multicenter showed no significant difference between groups (VRWii vs RA) for the primary and secondary outcomes. Our results are in agreement with prior analyses that compared mean change across groups.