Current Venture Grants


Kathryn Armstrong – Virtual Reality and Gameplay as a Model for Exercise Rehabilitation in Pediatric Solid Organ Transplant Patients. A Patient and Family Led Initiative.

Physical activity provides important health benefits for all children. Unfortunately, children undergoing solid organ transplantation (SOT) face many barriers preventing them from participating in regular physical activity including end-stage organ failure, prolonged hospitalization, chronic illness, other comorbidities and personal or parental concerns about the safety of exercise. While some recipients return to age-appropriate activities and lead healthy active lives, others need more support. Traditional hospital-based exercise rehabilitation can be effective at providing this support, but are also expensive to run, only accessible to patients who live close to the transplant centre and do not necessarily engage patients in activity outside of the structured program. Home-based programs can also be successful but prior experience by the study team suggests patient uptake is limited.
The idea for this project was initiated by a transplant recipient and his father based on the patient’s experience using immersive virtual reality (iVR) gameplay to increase physical activity levelsfollowing his transplant. Incollaboration with patient and family partners the project teamwill employ a prospective, randomized, crossover cohort study to assess whether 8 weeksof iVR will increase cardiorespiratory fitness and strength in SOT patients.
It is anticipated that 8-weeks of iVR gameplay will not only improve cardiorespiratory fitness
and strength but will also improve patient compliance, engagement, and limit attrition in our program. Regular physical activity is essentialfor every SOT patient to be able to enjoy a long, healthy, and productive life. The project team believes that this patient and family partner-initiated project iskey to helpingachieve these goals.