Virtual Reality Simulation in Peritoneal Dialysis Training: The Beginning of a New Era

Blood Purif. 2019;47(1-3):265-269. doi: 10.1159/000494595. Epub 2018 Dec 6.


Background/aim: Peritonitis rates in peritoneal dialysis (PD) vary considerably not only across countries but also between centers in the same country. Patient education has been shown to significantly reduce infection rates but up till now training lacks standardization with patients being trained using different methods and media (e.g., illustrations, videos). As a result, patients may be insufficiently experienced in performing PD, which might be one of the causes for high peritonitis rates. To address these issues, we developed a PD training program based on virtual reality (VR).

Methods: To become acquainted with the PD procedure, patients are equipped with a VR headset and controllers. They are presented with a virtual PD set, which simulates the feeling of sitting in front of a real PD set. The patient is enabled to run through the program as often as necessary to become familiarized with the whole PD procedure. The aim is to standardize, facilitate, and accelerate the individual learning process. To compare the effect of the applied training method to traditional training, a randomized controlled trial is underway.

Conclusion: Previous studies on the effectiveness of learning showed that VR training applications are superior to traditional methods, such as text- or video-based training. However, no study has been undertaken in the context of dialysis. We believe that the implementation of VR training programs in clinical practice will be beneficial in improving the patient's proficiency, and thereby the quality and safety of PD.

Keywords: Education; Peritoneal dialysis; Peritonitis rate; Standardization; Virtual reality training program.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Peritoneal Dialysis*
  • Virtual Reality*