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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Aug 2023 - 18 Aug 2023

Clinical, Pediatric, Psychology

Human Studies, In Silico Studies, Neurobiology

Acute Pain, Inflammation/Inflammatory, Neuropathic Pain

2023 Jul 28

J Clin Med




Desktop Virtual Reality Offers a Novel Approach to Minimize Pain and Anxiety during Burn Wound Cleaning/Debridement in Infants and Young Children: A Randomized Crossover Pilot Study.


Alrimy T, Alhalabi W, Malibari A, Alzahrani F, Alrajhi S, Yamani A, Ahmed H, Abduljawad A, Nasser E, ALattar S, Alharby B, Khalid H, Alhalabi M, Hoffman HG, Mason KP


Although most scald burn injuries involve children under six, because of the challenges of using head mounted displays with young children there is very little research exploring the use of VR in children under six. The current clinical pilot study measured the analgesic effectiveness of our new desktop VR system (with no VR helmet) in children under six during burn wound care (a within-subjects design with randomized treatment order). Between December 2021-April 2022, nine children with burn injuries (10 months to 5 years age, mean = 18 months) participated. The mean burn size was 10% Total Body Surface Area, range 2-22%. Using nurse’s ratings, VR significantly reduced children’s pain during burn wound care by 40% on the observational Faces, Legs, Activity, Crying, and Consolability (FLACC) pain scale. Specifically, non-parametric within-subject sign tests compared nurse’s ratings of the young patients’ pain during burn wound care using usual pain medications with no VR = 6.67, (SD = 2.45) vs. adjunctive Animal Rescue World VR (VR = 4.00, SD = 2.24, < 0.01). The observational Procedure-Behavior Checklist (PBCL) nurse’s scale measured a 34% reduction in anxiety with VR as compared to pharmacologic treatment alone ( < 0.005). Similarly, when using single graphic rating scales the patients’ parents reported a significant 36% decrease in their child’s pain during VR ( < 0.05), a 38% ( < 0.005) decrease in their child’s anxiety during VR, and a significant increase in patients’ joy during VR. It can be concluded that during burn wound care with no distraction (traditional pain medications), children under 6 years old experienced severe pain during a 10 min burn wound cleaning session. During burn wound care combining desktop virtual reality and traditional pain medications, the same pediatric patients experienced only mild pain during burn wound cleaning/debridement. VR significantly reduced the children’s pain and anxiety during burn wound care.