Video glasses worn by patients undergoing interventional radiology (IR) procedures help reduce anxiety without causing interference to medical staff, new research shows.
Patients wearing video glasses showing television or movies were 18.1 percent less anxious after their IR procedures than before, while those who didn’t wear the glasses were only 7.5 percent less anxious, according to research conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.
“Anxiety is a huge problem for people undergoing interventional procedures,” said lead author David Waldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Imaging Sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “Basically, we’re doing minimally invasive surgery on these people, so they are anxious. Decreasing anxiety levels is important.
“Also, if you consider where medicine is going—to patient/family-centered care—clearly this technique is moving in that direction,” he added. “If we can make patients more comfortable while they are in the hospital, we are offering better care.”
Researchers selected 49 patients (33 men, 16 women, ages ranging 18-87) who were undergoing a variety of outpatient IR procedures at Strong Memorial Hospital, a facility within the university’s system. Of those, 25 used the video glasses and 24 did not. Subjects were required to complete a standard, 20-question State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form before and after their procedures to assess their anxiety level. Scores ranging from 20 to 80 with a score of 43 or more were considered as high anxiety.
The study showed that anxiety varies by gender, as women registered higher pre-procedure anxiety scores than men. Patients with high anxiety require “significantly larger” amounts of sedation and analgesic medications during their procedures, said co-author Adam Fang, M.D., a third-year radiology resident in the Department of Imaging Sciences.
“We think this technique can be used to reduce anxiety and actually be applied safely in a variety of IR procedures without disturbing the physician or support staff,” Dr. Fang said. “It can be used to improve the patient experience and overall satisfaction.”
Patients in the study were undergoing a variety of IR procedures, allowing researchers to also monitor whether the glasses would be a disturbance to medical staff. “We didn’t pick any one type of procedure—we looked at a gamut,” Dr. Waldman said. “The glasses not only lowered the anxiety of the patients, they also were not obtrusive to the physician.”
The glasses also had no effect on patients’ average blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, pain, procedure time or amount of sedation or pain medication, he said.
The setup is relatively simple. An SD card loaded with a particular title slides into the eyewear, which is not much larger than a pair of sunglasses. Patients were able to choose from 20 titles in the video library including National Geographic specials and family-oriented movies.
“We obviously didn’t want to show anything that would raise anxiety, so nothing with guns, war or the military,” Dr. Waldman said, noting that “March of the Penguins” was the most popular selection.
Dr. Waldman added that the hospital is already showing videos to pediatric patients undergoing MR imaging exams, which has allowed for a reduction in the amount of anesthesia used on children. With MR imaging, however, the video displays on the walls rather than via glasses worn by the patient. By wearing the glasses, Dr. Waldman said, patients have the video directly in front of their eyes, creating fewer interruptions or distractions.
“If something is not right in front of you, it’s not always consistent,” he said. “We thought it would be a very simple way to get the video right in front of patients. Video glasses are an effective distraction technique that helps focus the individual’s attention away from the treatment.”
Next, researchers plan to conduct a much larger study across multiple sites within the university’s medical system. In the meantime, Dr. Waldman said they are using the glasses in day-to-day practice but that no further data is being collected at this time.
“We want to increase the number of patients in our study and try to find as diverse a population as possible to see if the effects we were seeing at our main hospital play out at the other sites as well,” Dr. Fang said.
Paul LaTour is an RSNA News staff writer.
View a video demonstration of a patient using the video glasses during an intervetional radiology procedure at Rochester Medical Center:
Video Glasses Demonstration Video
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