Virtual Reality as an Adjunctive Nonpharmacological Sedative During Orthopedic Surgery Under Regional Anesthesia: A Pilot and Feasibility Study

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Abstract

This pilot study assessed the feasibility and potential for any possible sedation sparing effect of immersive virtual reality (IVR) therapy on patients undergoing joint replacement surgery under regional anesthesia. Nine participants were given IVR, regional anesthetic, and sedation. Ten received conventional care. Mean propofol usage was 155 ± 45 mg/h in the conventional care group and 63 ± 21 mg/h in the IVR group (P = .088, mean difference −91.6 mg/h, 95% confidence interval, −200 to 16.87 mg/h). There was no significant difference in postoperative satisfaction between the 2 groups. This pilot study demonstrates that it is possible to safely provide IVR in an operating theater environment and may confer a sedation sparing effect. A larger, more powered, and randomized study is needed to assess this effect.

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