How virtual reality may decrease pain and anxiety in children

The findings of a study in JAMA Network Open showed how virtual reality (VR) may decrease pain and anxiety in children.

The study was conducted by researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

For the study, 107 participants aged 10 to 21 undergoing peripheral intravenous catheter placement were examined.

“Patients were randomized to receive standard care (simple distraction techniques [eg, music, coloring, singing, and talking] and the application of numbing cream) or a VR intervention using a balanced computer-generated randomization scheme stratified by sex,” the study reads.

“All patients who received the VR intervention were offered concurrent standard care; however, VR plus standard care was not specifically examined.”

The participants underwent peripheral intravenous catheter placement but who received VR intervention reported profoundly lower rates of anxiety and pain compared to their counterparts.

“This study’s findings add to the evidence-based literature indicating that a VR intervention is capable of decreasing pain and anxiety among patients undergoing painful procedures,” the study concluded.

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