BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Pain management in children is often inadequate, and the single most common painful procedure in children who are hospitalized is needle procedures. Virtual reality (VR) has been shown to decrease anxiety and pain in children undergoing painful procedures primarily in children from the age of 7 year. Our aim for this study is to investigate patient satisfaction and pain reduction by using a three-dimensional VR interactive game as a distraction in 4-7 years old children during venous cannulation.
METHODS: In this randomized clinical trial, we enrolled 106 children aged 4 to 7 years who were scheduled for venous cannulation. Patients assigned to the control group were adherent to standard of care, including topical numbing cream, positioning, and distraction in this group by games of choice on a tablet/smartphone. In the study group, children were adherent to standard of care and were distracted by an interactive VR game. Primary outcomes were patient satisfaction and the procedural pain assessed by using Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale; secondary outcomes were the procedural time and any adverse events.
RESULTS: We found an overall high level of patient satisfaction with our regime of topical numbing cream, positioning and distraction. The primary outcome of pain during the procedure were median 20 mm (IQR 0-40) and 20 mm (IQR 0-55) (Wong-Baker 0-100 mm) in the VR group and the control group, respectively (difference: 0 mm (95%CI: 0-20, p=0.19). No significant difference was found in procedural times. The number of adverse effects was low, with no significant difference between the 2 groups.
CONCLUSIONS: VR distraction is an acceptable form of distraction for children 4-7 years old when combined with topical numbing cream and positioning during preoperative venous cannulation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.