Clinical study

Virtual reality applied perioperatively

  • Research area: Anaesthesiology nursing research

  • Primary investigator: Karsten Lomholt Lassen


In this project, we aim to investigate the benefits and harms of patients wearing a head-mounted device and headphones to place the patient in virtual reality so that they perceive being physically present in a non-physical world. Therefore, the patient can distance themselves from the operation with the help of an image, sounds, or other stimuli from VR and can work as a solution for no or fewer sedatives.

Virtual reality (VR) is new in hospital settings and some of the latest technologies have been brought in for better treatment and care for patients. VR is a head-mounted device that “places the patient through 3D image and sound, in virtual reality so that they perceive being physically present in a non-physical world. Research has shown that virtual reality can be an effective distraction tool for patients undergoing anesthesia and has found that VR significantly reduces anxiety levels and can reduce pain. The amount of research investigating the effect of VR still needs to be of better quality and with older population,  to determine the most effective ways to use VR in this context and to identify any potential risks or limitations.

The population of the patient is accessible to surgery are getting older due to the development of less invasive surgery techniques and the development of regional anesthesia instead of full anesthesia. Sedatives are used every day with regional anesthesia to have patients cope with surgical procedures However, unwanted side effects including hemodynamics disorders, and respiratory impairment occur and have a higher impact on older patients. Many studies have been published on using different sedatives to reduce unwanted side effects. However, the use of virtual reality in hospital settings has yet to be performed on adults and the elderly, with a specific head-mounted device as the definition for virtual reality.

In cooperation with a Swedish research team and private developer, the project OPTIMIZE is supported by EU Interreg öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak.