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J Pain. 2006 Nov;7(11):843-50.

Virtual reality helmet display quality influences the magnitude of virtual reality analgesia.

Author information

1
Human Interface Technology Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA. hunter@hitL.washington.edu

Abstract

Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) distraction can be used in addition to traditional opioids to reduce procedural pain. The current study explored whether a High-Tech-VR helmet (ie, a 60-degree field-of-view head-mounted display) reduces pain more effectively than a Low-Tech-VR helmet (a 35-degree field-of-view head-mounted display). Using a double-blind between-groups design, 77 healthy volunteers (no patients) aged 18-23 were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups. Each subject received a brief baseline thermal pain stimulus, and the same stimulus again minutes later while in SnowWorld using a Low-Tech-VR helmet (Group 1), using a High-Tech-VR helmet (Group 2), or receiving no distraction (Group 3, control group). Each participant provided subjective 0-10 ratings of cognitive, sensory, and affective components of pain, and amount of fun during the pain stimulus. Compared to the Low-Tech-VR helmet group, subjects in the High-Tech-VR helmet group reported 34% more reduction in worst pain (P < .05), 46% more reduction in pain unpleasantness (P = .001), 29% more reduction in "time spent thinking about pain" (P < .05), and 32% more fun during the pain stimulus in VR (P < .05). Only 29% of participants in the Low-Tech helmet group, as opposed to 65% of participants in the High-Tech-VR helmet group, showed a clinically significant reduction in pain intensity during virtual reality. These results highlight the importance of using an appropriately designed VR helmet to achieve effective VR analgesia (see ).

PERSPECTIVE:

Pain during medical procedures (eg, burn wound care) is often excessive. Adjunctive virtual reality distraction can substantially reduce procedural pain. The results of the present study show that a higher quality VR helmet was more effective at reducing pain than a lower quality VR helmet.

PMID:
17074626
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpain.2006.04.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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