- Therapeutic virtual reality (VR) significantly lowered pain among hospitalized patients compared with televised programs promoting health and wellness, with the greater effect on patients with severe pain.
Why this matters
- Studies suggest that receiving opioid therapy for just 1 day during a hospitalization raises the risk for long-term opioid use, underlining the need for pain management alternatives in hospitalized patients.
- This prospective, randomized, comparative effectiveness study enrolled 120 hospitalized patients (VR, n=61; control, n=59) with an average pain score of ≥3/10 points.
- Funding: The Marc and Sheri Rapaport Fund for Digital Health Sciences & Precision Health.
- Mean differences between pre- and postintervention pain scores significantly favored the VR group (P<.04>
- VR vs control group showed a 1.17-point incremental reduction in pain (P=.048).
- When analysis was limited to patients with severe baseline pain (≥7 points), VR showed a pronounced effect (−3.04 vs −0.93 points; P=.02).
- In adjusted analysis, VR was associated with incremental reductions in pain at:
- 48 hours (0.59 points; P=.03); and
- 72 hours (0.56 points; P=.04).
- A significantly greater satisfaction with audiovisual experience was reported in the VR vs control group (3.5 vs 2.5; P<.001>
- No significant treatment-related adverse events were reported.
- Single, short VR intervention.
Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm