VR tours of ORs reduce anxiety in pediatric patients

Providing pediatric patients with a virtual reality (VR) tour of the operating room (OR) before receiving anesthesia could reduce preoperative anxiety, according to a study published in British Journal of Surgery.

The OR can be a scary place for children and raises anxiety before receiving anesthesia. This study evaluated how a VR tour of the OR could impact preoperative anxiety to improve patient experiences and outcomes.

The study enrolled 69 pediatric patients undergoing elective surgery—35 were sorted into the control group while 34 were placed in the VR group. Control patients received standard information covering anesthesia and surgery while the VR patients watched a four-minute VR video of a penguin explaining what the operating room was. Results showed patients in the VR group experienced significantly lower levels of anxiety than the control group.

"Medical practice has been changing a great deal with the convergence of ICT—information and communications technology—and healthcare," said Sung-Hee Han, senior author of the study. "This study shows how medicine and ICT can be coordinated to achieve clinical significance. More studies and investigations are expected in line with the current trend."