Virtual reality's impact on children with type 1 diabetes: a proof-of-concept randomized cross-over trial on anxiety, pain, adherence, and glycemic control

Noah Gruber*, Moran Shemesh-Iron, Ethel Kraft, Karen Mitelberg, Elinor Mauda, Michal Ben-Ami, Kineret Mazor-Aronovitch, Yael Levy-Shraga, Neriya Levran, Noah Levek, Eyal Zimlichman, Orit Pinhas-Hamiel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aims: Assess the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) technology, in reducing pain and anxiety, and improving adherence and glycemic control among children with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Methods: Children with T1D, managed with continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pumps, were recruited for a randomized cross-over trial. Children were randomized to one of two interventions for diabetes management: group 1 used VR glasses first and group 2 listened to vocal-guided affective imagery first (audio). After 1 month, the interventions were crossed over. The outcome measures included pain and anxiety assessment, adherence, glycemic control, and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) of VR satisfaction and effectiveness. Results: Forty children, mean age 11.4 ± 1.8 years, were participated. During the VR part, the monthly mean pain score compared to the baseline improved in both groups by 30% (p = 0.03). A 14% reduction in the state anxiety score was observed from baseline to 1 month in both groups (p = 0.009). Glycemic control measures including time in range, time above range, and glucose management indicator improved in both groups during VR part (p < 0.004 for all), compared to audio part. After one month, the patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) of satisfaction and effectiveness was sixfold higher after 1 month in group 1 compared to group 2 (p = 0.002). Adherence improved for both groups. Conclusions: VR was shown to be effective in reducing pain and anxiety, improving adherence, PROM, and glycemic control among children with T1D. We suggest incorporating VR technology in pediatric diabetes clinics to facilitate and improve coping and management of diabetes. Trial registration: Trial registration number and date of registration for prospectively registered trials:ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05883267, May 10th, 2023.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Diabetologica
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Adherence/compliance
  • Anxiety
  • Pediatrics
  • Time in range (TIR)
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Virtual reality

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