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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2014 Jun;17(6):371-8. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2014.0198.

Virtual reality for pain management in cardiac surgery.

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1 Hospital General y Regional No. 25 IMSS , Mexico City, Mexico .


Surgical anxiety creates psychological and physiological stress, causes complications in surgical procedures, and prolongs recovery. Relaxation of patients in postoperative intensive care units can moderate patient vital signs and reduce discomfort. This experiment explores the use of virtual reality (VR) cybertherapy to reduce postoperative distress in patients that have recently undergone cardiac surgery. Sixty-seven patients were monitored at IMSS La Raza National Medical Center within 24 hours of cardiac surgery. Patients navigated through a 30 minute VR simulation designed for pain management. Results were analyzed through comparison of pre- and postoperative vital signs and Likert scale survey data. A connection was found in several physiological factors with subjective responses from the Likert scale survey. Heavy positive correlation existed between breathing rate and Likert ratings, and a moderate correlation was found between mean arterial pressure and Likert ratings and heart rate and Likert ratings, all of which indicated lower pain and stress within patients. Further study of these factors resulted in the categorization of patients based upon their vital signs and subjective response, providing a context for the effectiveness of the therapy to specific groups of patients.

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