Computer game assisted task specific exercises (CGATSE) are rehabilitation gaming systems (RGS) used in stroke rehabilitation to facilitate patient performance of high intensity, task based, repetitive exercises aiming to enhance neuroplasticity. CGATSE maybe an appealing option in home based rehabilitation of stroke patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to determine the effects of CGATSE on hemiplegic arm-hand function, cognitive function and quality of life in stroke.
Thirty stroke patients were randomized into two groups. All participants received twenty sessions of physical therapy. In addition, the therapy group undertook thirty minutes of CGATSE using the Rejoyce gaming system; while the control group undertook thirty minutes of occupational therapy (OT). Motor function was evaluated before and after treatment using the Fugl Meyer upper extremity (FMUE), Brunnstrom stages of stroke recovery (BSSR) arm and hand. The CGATSE group also completed the Rejoyce arm hand function test (RAHFT). Cognitive function was evaluated using the mini mental state examination, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Stroke Specific Quality of Life (SS-QOL) scale.
The FMUE, BSSR arm and SSQOL improved in both groups (p < 0.05). BSSR of the hand improved only in the CGATSE group (p = 0.024). RAHFT scores improved in the CGATSE group (p = 0.008). MoCA scores significantly improved in the control group (p = 0.008).
CGATSE may be beneficial in providing continuation of care after stroke, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when home based rehabilitation options are becoming increasingly important. Benefits of CGATSE in improving cognitive function is less clear. RGS aimed at improving motor function may be compared to gaming systems designed to target cognitive development and more detailed higher cortical function deficit tests can be used as outcome measures.