Date of this Version


Document Type

DNP Project


Background: Anxiety and pain experienced when regional anesthesia (RA) is implemented can hinder patient care due to the nature of the procedure. Throughout the implementation of RA, virtual reality (VR) can distract patients from noisy, scary, and uncomfortable environments and alleviate these feelings at different points in the patient care experience. This problem is often overlooked and addressed incorrectly. An educational module will be presented with the findings of the investigation to the certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) to inform them about the benefits virtual reality may have on patients undergoing regional anesthetic techniques.

Objectives: The literature review aimed to investigate the use of VR in different points of care when using RA and explore its usefulness in reducing anxiety and pain levels as well as increasing patient satisfaction scores. The overall feasibility of implementation in the operating room setting is also examined. An educational module was used to inform CRNA's on the subject and assess their knowledge and willingness to implement the novel modality into their practice. A pre and post-test assessment exam was used in order to measure these results.

Data Sources: Investigators used CINAHL, MedLine, and PROQUEST databases to answer the PICO (i.e., population, intervention, comparison, outcome) question: Does the use of virtual reality in patients undergoing regional anesthesia lead to improved patient satisfaction, anxiety, and pain levels?

Study Selection: Six studies were included in this systematic review and incorporated in the recommendations. Inclusion criteria involved: Studies in English, adult population over 18 years of age, published in 2010 to present, monitored anesthesia care, local anesthesia, and regional anesthetic technique implementations. Studies that involved amounts of medication usage, pain, anxiety, and satisfaction score evaluation as primary outcomes were chosen to be included in the review.

Results: The studies had a combined sample size of 266 patients. Five studies reported increased patient satisfaction scores or decreased anxiety and pain when the virtual reality experience was executed. One study reported no difference in any of the measured outcomes.

Conclusions: The empirical evidence shows that in most instances' VR had positive effects on anxiety, pain, and satisfaction scores reported by patients. All of the studies reported excellent acceptability from the patients and medical-surgical team with no increase in turnover time or adverse effects of operating room flow.

Keywords: Regional anesthesia, neuraxial anesthesia, virtual reality, anxiety, pain, satisfaction.