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2022 Feb 17

Int J Environ Res Public Health



An Exploratory Study on the Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Analgesia for Children and Adolescents with Kidney Diseases Undergoing Venipuncture.


Atzori B, Vagnoli L, Graziani D, Hoffman HG, Sampaio M, Alhalabi W, Messeri A, Lauro-Grotto R
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Feb 17; 19(4).
PMID: 35206481.


The current study evaluated the effectiveness of VR analgesia among pediatric and adolescent patients with kidney disease undergoing venipuncture. Patients at an Italian Children's hospital (N = 82, age range 7-17 years) undergoing venipuncture were randomly assigned to a No VR group (non-medical conversation) vs. a Yes VR group (VR analgesia). After the procedure, patients gave 0-10 Verbal Numeric Pain Scale ratings. Compared with patients in the No VR Group, patients in the Yes VR group reported significantly lower "Pain intensity"(No VR mean = 2.74, SD = 2.76 vs. Yes VR mean = 1.56, SD = 1.83) and the VR group also rated "Pain unpleasantness" significantly lower than the No VR group (No VR mean = 2.41, SD = 0.94 vs. Yes VR mean = 1.17, SD = 1.80). Patients distracted with VR also reported having significantly more fun during the venipuncture procedure. No side effects emerged. In addition to reducing pain intensity, VR has the potential to make venipuncture a more fun and less unpleasant experience for children with CKD, as measured in the present study for the first time. Finally, in exploratory analyses, children aged 7-11 in the VR group reported 55% lower worst pain than control subjects in the same age range, whereas children aged 12 to 17 in the VR group only reported 35% lower worst pain than control subjects. Additional research and development using more immersive VR is recommended.