The effectiveness of Virtual Reality for pre-treatment of children in Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
Type of content
The purpose of this research is to explore the potential of using Virtual Reality (VR) to reduce anxiety among children aged 4-6 while undergoing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. To achieve this, VR was compared to play therapy, which is the current methodology for reducing anxiety in children.
A VR game was designed to mimic the actual MRI room at Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand. The purpose of the VR game is to expose the user directly to the source of their potential anxiety. A study was conducted to test the effectiveness of the VR game. In the study, the participants played the VR game for 10 minutes. As soon as the VR session ended, the participant was led into the actual MRI room to prepare for an MRI scan. The success/failure of the MRI scan was recorded, then compared with results from play therapy. The play therapy data was obtained from Christchurch Hospital’s past patients’ data.
The results suggest that VR appears to be better than play therapy. VR and play therapy have a success rate of 91.3% and 66.7% respectively. However, given the lack of time, and the sparsity of past patient data, insufficient data was available for play therapy to confirm that VR performs better than play therapy.
Despite that, VR is significantly faster in preparation compared to play therapy. In addition to its low cost and portability, it suggests that VR could be a viable clinical alternative.