BACKGROUND: Virtual Reality (VR) has been used as a distraction tool in various medical settings to reduce pain and anxiety associated with procedures. This study evaluates the effectiveness of VR as a distraction tool for decreasing fear, anxiety, and pain in pediatric patients undergoing common outpatient orthopaedic procedures.METHODS: A total of 210 patients were recruited from a single orthopaedic clinic between October 2017 and July 2019. Patients were randomized to the VR group or to the control group (standard of care). Outpatient procedures included cast and/or pin removals. Primary outcome measures were collected preprocedure and postprocedure using validated surveys, and included: fear (Children's Fear Scale), anxiety (Children's Anxiety Meter-State), and pain (Numerical Rating Scale). Patients and caregivers in the VR group completed a satisfaction survey at the end of their appointment. Fear, anxiety, and pain scores between the 2 groups were analyzed using multivariable linear regression models, and the satisfaction survey was analyzed using descriptive statistics.RESULTS: One hundred twenty nine patients were included in the final analysis, with 85 patients in the VR group and 44 patients in the control group. During the procedure, patients in the VR group reported significantly lower average fear scores (P<0.001) and anxiety scores (P=0.003) as compared with controls. There were no differences between the groups in fear and anxiety scores before and after the procedure, or pain scores before, during, or after the procedure. Overall, patients and caregivers in the VR group reported high satisfaction scores, with 97% of patients and 95% of caregivers recommending this intervention to others.CONCLUSION: VR technology was found to be an effective distraction tool to improve fear and anxiety during cast removal procedures. Findings build on a body of evidence that supports the use of distraction tools in clinics, specifically pediatric orthopaedics, to improve fear and anxiety. The distraction tools can be easily translated into current practices.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level I.
View details for DOI 10.1097/BPO.0000000000002250
View details for PubMedID 36040069