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Audiovisual Interventions to Reduce the Use of General Anaesthesia with Paediatric Patients during Radiation Therapy


  • D Willis, B.App.Sci (Med Rad), M.Tech (IT); P Barry, BMus (Hons), MMus, RMT.

  • Conflicts of interest: None.

Mr David Willis, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Locked Bag 1, A'Beckett Street, Vic. 8006, Australia. Email:


Clinical audiovisual interventions were implemented to avoid the use of general anaesthesia with children undergoing radiation therapy treatment. A retrospective audit and case study review was conducted to evaluate the utility of distraction interventions aimed at improving immobilisation and reducing separation anxiety for children aged between 2 and 6 years old who received radiation therapy. A simple, inexpensive audiovisual system was established using commercially available equipment. Paediatric patients could elect to (i) use a closed-circuit TV system that allowed them to see their carer(s); (ii) watch a DVD movie; or (iii) listen to carer(s) on a microphone during their treatment. Over a 2-year period (March 2007–May 2009), 37 paediatric patients aged 2–6 years received radiation therapy at the centre. Twenty-four children participated in audiovisual interventions, and 92% (n = 22) of these children did not require the use of general anaesthesia for some or all of their treatment. Case study review illustrates the utility and limitations of the system. The audit and case studies suggest that the audiovisual interventions provided supportive care and reduced the need to anaesthetise children undergoing radiation therapy treatment.