Virtual reality helps radiology department dramatically reduce pain and anxiety during contrast media administration


The use of virtual reality has helped a radiology department significantly reduce patient pain and anxiety associated with inserting a peripheral IV catheter, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA network open.

Children can experience considerable discomfort and distress when inserting these devices, which are used, among other things, for the administration of contrast agents. However, Los Angeles Children’s Hospital found early success using a multisensory virtual reality game to help calm children during their imagery encounter.

Lead author Jeffrey Gold, PhD, and colleagues see promise to use this technology in other aspects of radiology and beyond.

“Virtual reality, a non-pharmacological intervention, is an empirically supported, feasible and cost-effective solution for managing pain and anxiety during routine pediatric venipuncture procedures,” Gold, with the Department of Anesthesiology at the ‘USC Keck School of Medicine, and co-authors wrote Aug. 25. “Future research on reducing pain and anxiety during medical procedures (eg, magnetic resonance imaging, [peripheral IV catheter] placement, lumbar puncture, otolaryngologic procedures, and cast removal) may benefit from considering interventions that reduce or eliminate drug use, ”they later added.

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