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The effects of mirror therapy on upper extremity rehabilitation following hemiparesis after a stroke

1 January 2011


Based on the results from the articles by Yavuzer et al 2006, and Dohle et al 2009, there is limited evidence to support using MT to improve upper extremity function in patients with hemiparesis following a stroke. Yavuzer et al provided strong evidence with good internal and external reliability in support of using MT instead of the current standard of care to improve upper extremity function. Dohle et al provided limited evidence with poor internal and external reliability for using MT instead of the current standard of care. In both studies, the MT group improved at least as much as the conventional therapy group. Therefore the addition of MT to a patient’s plan of care can be viewed as safe and not detrimental to their overall rehabilitation. In addition, MT may produce better results than conventional therapy in some patients. Further research must be completed to determine definitively the role of MT in hemiparesis rehabilitation, especially when used in conjuncture with other therapies.
Does MT improve upper extremity function more than conventional therapy in patients in an inpatient rehabilitation setting with upper extremity hemiparesis following a stroke?
The patient who led me to investigate this topic was a woman in her 70’s admitted to a rehabilitation hospital where I work. According to her family’s report, she had been demonstrating increasing confusion for 12 days prior to her admission. Her medical diagnosis is an ischemic stroke. She initially presented with heavy confusion, left sided weakness, pusher syndrome, and left sided neglect. Her treatment to date has consisted of strengthening and coordination exercises for upper and lower extremities, as well as sitting and standing balance activities.


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