Industry News: Clinical Trial Finds that Virtual Reality Therapy May Serve as Effective Adjunct to Anesthesia For Surgical Procedures

Patient with VR headsetNew Study Published in PLOS ONE Highlights Clinical Trial Findings

The results of a clinical trial using software from XRHealth, developer and operator of virtual treatment rooms in the metaverse, demonstrated that virtual reality therapy may serve as an effective adjunct to anesthesia for surgical procedures. The trials were conducted with XRHealth’s immersive virtual reality software.

The clinical trial consisted of 34 patients undergoing hand and wrist surgery. All of the patients were given a peripheral nerve block before surgery.  Patients were randomized to intraoperative immersive virtual reality with intravenous anesthesia only given as needed, or to usual care as directed by the anesthesiologist. The VR therapy software provided an immersive, engaging environment that guided patients through relaxation and pain reduction techniques while undergoing the surgery.

The results of the trial showed that the majority of patients (13/17) using the XRHealth VR technology did not need any intravenous sedatives during surgery. A postoperative survey demonstrated similarly low levels of pain and anxiety for patients in both control groups.  Other secondary findings demonstrated that patients using the VR technology recovered from anesthesia more quickly and left the recovery room earlier than those in the usual care group.

Results demonstrate that VR may help provide satisfactory control of pain and anxiety for procedures such as upper extremity surgery with regional anesthesia.VR may allow for avoidance of risky sedatives without detracting from the patient experience.These findings could lead to a discussion in the medical industry about using non-pharmaceutical interventions during surgical procedures that both enhance the patient experience during surgery and provide a better postoperative recovery.

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Source: Reprint by permission of PRNewswire
Photo Courtesy ShutterStock/Newman Studio Paid Lic

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