Port needle insertions are painful and distressing for Pediatric Hematology-Oncology patients. Virtual Reality (VR) can be used during needle-related procedures in these patients. This study aimed to investigate the effect of VR distraction during access to the venous port with a Huber needle in reducing needle-related pain, fear, and anxiety of children and adolescents with cancer.
This randomized controlled study used a parallel trial design guided by the CONSORT checklist. The sample of children (n = 42) was allocated to the VR group (n = 21) and the control group (n = 21). Port needle-related pain was assessed using the Wong-Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale after the procedure. Before and after the port needle insertion procedure, anxiety and fear assessed using self- and parent-report using the Children’s Anxiety Meter and Child Fear Scale. The primary outcome was the patient-reported pain scores after the procedure and fear and anxiety scores before and after the procedure. Pain, anxiety, and fear scores of the two groups and within groups were analyzed and also Spearman correlation analysis was used.
Self-reported pain scores of patients in the VR and control group were 2.4 ± 1.8 and 5.3 ± 1.8, respectively. This study found a statistically significant difference between groups in pain scores (p < .001). A statistically significant difference was found between groups according to the self- and parent-reported fear and anxiety scores after the procedure. Self-reported fear scores in the VR and control group were 0.8 ± 0.9, 2.0 ± 1.0, self-reported anxiety scores were 2.9 ± 2.0, 5.4 ± 2.0, respectively (p < .001).
Virtual reality is an effective distraction method in reducing port needle-related pain, fear, and anxiety in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology patients. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04093154.

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