A Study of the Use of Virtual Reality Equipment to Decrease Pre-Surgical Anxiety for Open Chest Heart Surgery Patients


  • Study type

  • Study IDs

  • Describes the nature of a clinical study. Types include:

    • Observational study — observes people and measures outcomes without affecting results.
    • Interventional study (clinical trial) — studies new tests, treatments, drugs, surgical procedures or devices.
    • Medical records research — uses historical information collected from medical records of large groups of people to study how diseases progress and which treatments and surgeries work best.
  • Site IRB
    • Rochester, Minnesota: 16-009784
    Sponsor Protocol Number: 16-009784

About this study

The purpose of this study is to assess the use of low-cost virtual reality equipment and game software to distract and decrease patient reported levels of anxiety while waiting for heart surgery.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. If you need assistance understanding the eligibility criteria, please contact the study team.

See eligibility criteria

Inclusion Criteria

  • Able to understand the goals of the study and provide informed consent
  • Scheduled for a first time sternotomy under the care of Mayo Clinic cardiovascular inpatient service or thoracic inpatient service
  • Admitted after 21 November 2016
  • Between 18 and 80 years
  • English speaking

Exclusion Criteria 

  • Unable to consent to study due to cognitive difficulty
  • Current diagnosis of epilepsy, dementia, or other neurological disease that may prevent use of VR hardware and software
  • Sensitivity to flashing light or motion
  • Received anxiolytic drugs or sedatives within the preceding 24 hours
  • Recent stroke
  • Post-transplant
  • Pre-transplant with severe illness
  • On ventilator, BiPAP, or other breathing assistance equipment
  • Has injury to the eyes, face, neck, or arms that prevents comfortable use of VR hardware or software, or safe use of the hardware (e.g., open sores, wounds, or skin rash on face)
  • Non-English speaking

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact us for help.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Jordan Miller, Ph.D.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Jordan Miller Ph.D.