The following is Menekli et al., published in the October 2022 issue of Pain Management, “Effects of a Virtual Reality Distraction Intervention on Pain, Anxiety, and Vital Signs in Oncology Patients Undergoing Port Catheter Implantation: A Randomized Controlled Study. is a summary of
Although there are many ways in which port catheters can improve a patient’s life, some patients report negative side effects such as discomfort and anxiety at the incision site before, during and after surgery. Distraction is a simple yet highly effective strategy for dealing with discomfort and stress. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of providing a virtual reality (VR) distraction intervention to oncology patients undergoing port catheter placement on levels of discomfort, anxiety and vital signs. A controlled random experiment.
A total of 139 participants (70 in the control group and 69 in the intervention group) participated in the study, which was conducted from September 2019 to January 2020. Pre-, during and post-implantation data were collected using an analogue scale of pain intensity. Additionally, patients in the intervention group were given a virtual reality headset, video, and soothing music, available throughout the implantation procedure and whenever they experienced pain afterward. Neither the patient nor the researcher were blinded to the identity of their partner at any point during the trial.
Both groups reported more pain after the implants were placed, but the intervention group reported less pain overall, making the difference between groups statistically significant. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate all decreased in the intervention group, while SpO2 increased. Using VR significantly changes pain ratings (Cohen’s d=3.023) and social anxiety index (SAI) ratings (8.770). A patient who underwent port catheterization experienced discomfort, anxiety, improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and an increase in her SpO2 after receiving a VR distraction intervention.