“Can Hypnosis & Virtual Reality Decrease Anxiety, Pain, and Fatigue in Cardiac Surgery Patients?

Technology has come a far way. It has improved every aspect of our lives. A new trial has been suggested. It will investigate whether non-pharmacological techniques like hypnosis and virtual reality can decrease anxiety, pain, or fatigue in patients that underwent cardiac surgery. It will investigate how a new technique called virtual reality hypnosis which is a combination of the two treatments can be effective to patients. The goal is to understand these effects and to determine potential benefits in a controlled environment.

To become eligible for this study, an adult patient has to undergo cardiac surgery such as coronary artery bypass graft, mitral heart valve replacement, and aortic valve replacement among others. All the study procedures and the surgery will take place at the University Hospital of Liège in Belgium. There will be 100 patients participating in the study and consent forms have to be signed. Patients have to be between the ages of 18 to 90 and they have to be conscious and able to answer questions in French. Patients will be randomly divided into four groups including the Control Group (for daily care only), Hypnosis, Virtual Reality, and Virtual Reality Hypnosis.

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The hypnosis group will consist of a 20-minute hypnosis recording named Soothing White Clouds. It includes suggestions about relaxation and positive body expectations. Suggestions are focused on variables that can be improved on with the cooperation of the patient and not immediate relief of the symptoms.

The virtual reality group will make use of a head-mounted 3D graphical display with goggles and the VR landscape will be a visualization of a landscape accompanied by sounds of nature. The immersive experience will include a shed near a lake followed by a relaxing moment in the clouds. The device was constructed by Oncomfort and the goal is to allow the patient to visualize the hypnosis process. There is no verbal element to this device, only nature sounds, and patients are not interacting with the device by simply relaxing.

The virtual reality hypnosis group will experience a technique where the sounds of nature are replaced with the audio from the hypnosis tape. The Soothing White Clouds tape will be used in combination with the 3D nature movie.

These techniques will be applied to patients twice: the day before surgery and the day after surgery. Before and after each session the patient’s vitals will be recorded. A visual analogical scale will be used to access anxiety, fatigue, and pain. Patients will also be asked to assess their anxiety, fatigue, and pain levels during these sessions. The study makes provision for certain limitations like patients dropping out of the study or patients who were unable to participate in the study after their operations.

The study aims to provide insight into VR, hypnosis, and VRH in the context of ICU care. The study can measure the results. The effects to determine the final verdict of the study.