Objective: This study was to investigate the effectiveness of action observation therapy on arm and hand motor function, walking ability, gait performance, and activities of daily living in stroke patients. Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Data sources: Searches were completed in January 2019 from electronic databases, including PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library, and OTseeker. Review methods: Two independent reviewers performed data extraction and evaluated the study quality by the PEDro scale. The pooled effect sizes on different aspects of outcome measures were calculated. Subgroup analyses were performed to examine the impact of stroke phases on treatment efficacy. Results: Included were 17 articles with 600 patients. Compared with control treatments, the action observation therapy had a moderate effect size on arm and hand motor outcomes (Hedge’s g = 0.564; P < 0.001), a moderate to large effect size on walking outcomes (Hedge’s g = 0.779; P < 0.001), a large effect size on gait velocity (Hedge’s g = 0.990; P < 0.001), and a moderate to large effect size on activities of daily function (Hedge’s g = 0. 728; P = 0.004). Based on subgroup analyses, the action observation therapy showed moderate to large effect sizes in the studies of patients with acute/subacute stroke or those with chronic stroke (Hedge’s g = 0.661 and 0.783). Conclusion: This review suggests that action observation therapy is an effective approach for stroke patients to improve arm and hand motor function, walking ability, gait velocity, and daily activity performance.
- Action observation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation