Scientific article
Open access

Virtual reality vs. tablet for procedural comfort using an identical game in children undergoing venipuncture: a randomized clinical trial

Published inFrontiers in pediatrics, vol. 12, 1378459
Publication date2024-05-13
First online date2024-05-13


Recent research has explored the effectiveness of interactive virtual experiences in managing pain and anxiety in children during routine medical procedures, compared to conventional care methods. However, the influence of the specific technology used as an interface, 3-dimensions (D) immersive virtual reality (VR) vs. 2D touch screens, during pediatric venipuncture, remains unexamined. This study aimed to determine if immersive VR is more effective than a tablet in reducing pain and anxiety during short procedures.


An interactive game was designed by clinicians and psychologists, expert in pain theory, hypnosis, and procedural pain and anxiety relief, and was tailored for both VR and tablet use. Fifty patients were randomly assigned to either the Tablet or VR group. The primary outcome measures were pain and anxiety levels during the procedure. Secondary outcome measures included the need for physical restraint, duration of the procedure, enjoyment levels, and satisfaction ratings from both parents and nurses.


Participants, in both groups, had low levels of pain and anxiety. Physical restraint was infrequently used, procedures were brief, and high satisfaction levels were reported by patients, parents, and nurses.


This study suggests that the type of technology used as a support for the game has a minimal effect on the child's experience, with both groups reporting low pain and anxiety levels, minimal physical restraint, and high enjoyment. Despite immersive VR's technological advancements, this study underscores the value of traditional tablets with well-designed interactive games in enhancing children's wellbeing during medical procedures.

Clinical Trial Registration

[ ClinicalTrials.gov ], identifier [NCT05065307].

  • Anxiety
  • Distraction analgesia
  • Pain
  • Pediatrics
  • Procedural comfort
  • Tablet
  • Venipuncture
  • Virtual reality
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
ZAVLANOU, Christina et al. Virtual reality vs. tablet for procedural comfort using an identical game in children undergoing venipuncture: a randomized clinical trial. In: Frontiers in pediatrics, 2024, vol. 12, p. 1378459. doi: 10.3389/fped.2024.1378459
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2296-2360

Technical informations

Creation06/12/2024 8:44:17 AM
First validation06/17/2024 9:42:32 AM
Update time06/17/2024 9:42:32 AM
Status update06/17/2024 9:42:32 AM
Last indexation06/17/2024 9:42:52 AM
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