03.06.2019 change 03.06.2019

Szczecin/ Virtual reality to help patients during dialysis

Radosław Brzeziński from VRR during research at the Pomeranian Medical University, April 29. Researchers from VRR in collaboration with lecturers from the Pomeranian Medical University have developed a pioneering method, useful during haemodialysis. Photo: PAP/ Marcin Bielecki. 29.05.2019 Radosław Brzeziński from VRR during research at the Pomeranian Medical University, April 29. Researchers from VRR in collaboration with lecturers from the Pomeranian Medical University have developed a pioneering method, useful during haemodialysis. Photo: PAP/ Marcin Bielecki. 29.05.2019

Greater patients` comfort during dialysis will be provided by a VR device designed by a Szczecin company in cooperation with the Pomeranian Medical University. The creators hope that it will also improve the effectiveness of the treatment.

"The key element of the system is to provoke patients to perform movements, which may have a positive effect on them" - says Radosław Nagay from VRR, which together with the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin wants to make the device available to haemodialysis patients in Szczecin`s Clinical Hospital No. 2 According to the authors of the project, virtual reality will not only to improve the comfort of patients during the procedure and "cut them off" from the hospital environment, it will also affect the effectiveness of dialysis.

Head of Nephrology, Transplantology and Internal Diseases at the Clinical Hospital No. 2, Prof. Kazimierz Ciechanowski explains that while resting, a litre of blood per minute flows through the muscles, and during physical activity it is 20 litres.

"We do not expect 20 liters to flow during dialysis. We want 5 litres of blood to pass through the muscles instead of one litre. We hope that (with the device - PAP) haemodialysis could be at least 50-60% more effective"- says the nephrologist and transplantologist. He adds that patients will then be "better cleaned" and hence healthier. Thus, they will have a better chance of survival or for a faster kidney transplantation.

According to Radosław Nagay, images and situations presented in virtual reality (VR) are expected to cause patients to perform "even minimal body movements". He notes that due to the necessity of large immobilization of patients during haemodialysis, the authors must create different ways of controlling than in the case of typical VR games, for example with muscle contractions.

They also want to create many different types of virtual experience scenarios; lecturers and students of the Academy of Art in Szczecin will be involved in their creation. "We`re dealing with a repetitive procedure, sometimes performed several times a week over the period of at least six months (...) We can not limit it to one or two events, there must be a dozen or tens of them. If we expect it to be motivating, there must be many mechanisms, including a desire to learn something new" - explains Nagay.

"One of the key elements of the innovation of this project is the appropriate selection of experiences to ensure the effectiveness of therapy" - he emphasises.

The device, as its co-creator explains, is still a "pre-prototype", so it could not be tested by patients. The company and the medical university want to apply for funding for the project in the form of a scientific grant (PAP)

author: Elżbieta Bielecka

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