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Virtual reality videos may alleviate pre-surgical anxiety in children

By Amy Wallace
Virtual reality videos may alleviate pre-surgical anxiety in children
A virtual reality tour of the operating room prior to anesthesia helped reduce preoperative anxiety in children scheduled to undergo surgery, according to a recent study. Photo by Julian Rovagnati/Shutterstock

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Researchers have found that virtual reality videos showing tours of the operating room before surgery helped reduce preoperative anxiety in children.

The study, published today in the British Journal of Surgery, included 70 children who were scheduled to have elective surgery under general anesthesia randomized to a control group that received conventional education about surgery and anesthesia, and others who watched a four-minute virtual reality video of Pororo the penguin touring the operating room while explaining what things are and how they work.

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Researchers found that the children in the virtual reality group had a significantly lower score on the modified Yale Preoperative Anxiety Scale, or m-YPAS, before surgery compared to those in the control group.

The study showed the preoperative virtual reality tour of the operating room was effective in alleviating preoperative anxiety and increasing compliance during induction of anesthesia in children.

"Medical practice has been changing a great deal with the convergence of ICT -- information and communications technology -- and healthcare," Dr. Sung-Hee Han, of the Seoul National University College of Medicine, said in a press release. "This study shows how medicine and ICT can be coordinated to achieve clinical significance. More studies and investigations are expected in line with the current trend."

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