Immersive and Non-Immersive Virtual Reality for Pain and Anxiety Management in Pediatric Patients with Hematological or Solid Cancer: A Systematic Review

Dania Comparcini, Valentina Simonetti, Francesco Galli, Ilaria Saltarella, Concetta Altamura, Marco Tomietto, Jean-François Desaphy, Giancarlo Cicolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Invasive and painful procedures, which often induce feelings of anxiety, are necessary components of pediatric cancer treatment, and adequate pain and anxiety management during these treatments is of pivotal importance. In this context, it is widely recognized that a holistic approach, including pharmacological and non-pharmacological modalities, such as distraction techniques, should be the standard of care. Recent evidence suggested the use of virtual reality (VR) as an effective non-pharmacological intervention in pediatrics. Therefore, this systematic review aims to analyze previously published studies on the effectiveness of VR for the management of pain and/or anxiety in children and adolescents with hematological or solid cancer. Medline, SCOPUS, Web of Science, ProQuest, CINAHL, and The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were used to search for relevant studies in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses checklist. Randomized controlled trial, crossover trial, cluster randomized trial, and quasi-experimental studies were included. Thirteen studies, published between 1999 and 2022, that fulfilled the inclusion criteria were included. Regarding the primary outcomes measured, pain was considered in five studies, anxiety in three studies, and the remaining five studies analyzed the effectiveness of VR for both pain and anxiety reduction. Our findings suggested a beneficial effect of VR during painful vascular access procedures. Limited data are available on the reduction of anxiety in children with cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number985
Number of pages28
JournalCancers
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2023

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