This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of various electronic relaxation devices in reducing stress-related symptoms often reported in the intensive care unit (ICU). A randomized cross-over approach was used to recruit 60 critically ill patients in 4 relaxation sessions: traditional relaxation (TV/radio), music therapy (MUSIC-CARE©), and 2 virtual reality systems employing either actual motion pictures (DEEPSEN©) or synthetic motion pictures (HEALTHY-MIND). The primary aim was to compare devices based on their ability to reduce patient discomfort as measured by a Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) from 0 to 10. Analgesia/Nociception Index (ANI) was used to assess stress response, and secondary endpoints included the presence of particular stressed symptoms (pain, anxiety, dyspnea, thirst, and an overall sense of being unrested). In this study, researchers employed multivariate mixed-effects analysis to examine the relationship between patient characteristics and various variables. About 50 patients completed the entire study, and 10 patients participated in at least 1 relaxation session as part of the study. A decrease in stress response (increase in ANI, secondary endpoint; P=0.01) and a decrease in overall discomfort (median NRS = 4[2-6] vs. 2[0-5]; P<0.01, mixed-effect model) were both linked with HEALTHY-MIND©. In terms of secondary outcomes, both VR systems were linked to reduced anxiety (P<0.01), with HEALTHY-MIND additionally linked to reduced pain (P=0.001) and DEEPSEN© linked to reduced fatigue (P=0.01). In a study of 109 VR sessions, 3 occurrences (claustrophobia, dyspnea, and agitation) were reported. As indicated by the NRS = 0[0-0], cybersickness was uncommon. The use of electronic relaxation treatment to alleviate pain in ICU patients who are awake and not delirious is an exciting new area of research that shows great promise as a safe and effective non-pharmacological alternative to traditional pain relief methods. The sort of symptoms being treated and the specifics of the treatment itself (virtual reality with a synthetic imagined environment against the real world or music therapy without virtual reality) determine how effective it will be.
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