Study: Video Glasses Help Keep Patients’ Minds Off Medical Procedures, Reduce Anxiety

Video glasses, an effective yet uncommon method of calming anxious patients, may also be effective in easing the stress of patients undergoing interventional radiology treatments, according to a study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The study, which was recently presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 39th Annual Scientific meeting, showed that, compared to video, music and hypnosis “have modest benefits at best,” according to a press release.

The Study

The study involved 49 patients between the ages of 18 and 87. While undergoing an outpatient interventional radiology treatment (like a biopsy or catheter placement in the arm or chest), 25 of the participants wore video glasses playing a video chosen out of 20. None of the videos were violent. The other 24 did not wear video glasses. Before and after the procedures, the participants completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y, “a standard 20-question test,” according to the press release, in order to assess anxiety levels.

The Results

The results showed that the patients wearing video glasses during the procedure were 18.1 percent less anxious after the treatment than before the treatment. The patients who did not wear glasses were 7.5 percent less anxious than before the procedure. The study also showed that there was “no significant effect on blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, pain, procedure time, or amount of sedation or pain medication.”

“Whether they were watching a children’s movie or a nature show, patients wearing video glasses were successful at tuning out their surroundings,” noted David L. Waldman, M.D., Ph.D., FSIR, who led the study. “it’s an effective distraction technique that helps focus the individual’s attention away from the treatment.”

Interventional radiology—minimally-invasive, image-guided procedures—involve less risk, pain, and recovery time than open surgery, but anxiety can arise in patients both about the procedures and the outcomes, according to the press release.