Venipuncture. More commonly known as blood work, or the process of drawing blood (generally for laboratory testing) is a commonly performed procedure today. However, it is often an absolute nightmare for many current and former IV drug users. Years of intravenous drug use can take its toll on a patients veins, often making it very difficult for healthcare professionals to easily identify a useable vein and successfully draw blood, especially on the first poke. But what if healthcare professionals were able view realtime digital imaging of a patients vasculature, detailed enough to identify flow, bifurcations and valves in a non-invasive way? A new piece of technology known as "VeinViewer" now makes it possible.
Christie Medical Holdings has developed an amazing piece of vascular imaging technology designed to make the whole process of venipuncture much easier. Known as "VeinViewer", the device allows for realtime imaging of the subcutaneous vasculature and blood patterns, which is displayed directly on the surface of the patients skin - making the whole process of finding a vein much easier on both patients and medical professionals.
VeinViewer is rechargeable, small enough to fit into your hand, and can also be attached to a base to allow for mobile, hands free use of the device. It has the ability to capture static images of blood patterns, and also employs several different colour combinations, which allow it to be used effectively on all skin tones.
How It Works
VeinViewer employs a handheld version of the technology known as 'Active Vascular Imaging Navigation', which projects near-infrared light onto the patients skin. The near-infrared light is absorbed by the blood and reflected by the surrounding tissue. That information is then captured by the device and digitally projected onto the skin, allowing for realtime viewing of the patients vasculature. VeinViewer gives healthcare professionals the opportunity to view "blood patterns up to 15mm deep and clinically relevant veins up to 10mm."
Not only does VeinViewer make the identification of veins much easier, it helps in locating bifurcations and valves, and allows for healthcare professionals to assess the flow by providing a visual of refill and flushing of blood through the vein.
"VeinViewer has been shown to increase peripheral intravenous (PIV) first-stick success by up to 100 percent, reduce medically unnecessary PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) placements by greater than 30 percent and improve patient satisfaction by 100 percent."
Check out the video below to watch the VeinViewer in action:
While the product pricing for the latest models are not listed on the Christie Medical Holdings website, HCPLive quotes the price of the very first VeinViewer model at $30,000.
As a former heavy intravenous drug user, the value in a device such as this is huge. For many current and former users, venipuncture or blood work is an absolute nightmare. Even though it has been almost 3 years since I stopped using intravenously, my veins are still very damaged. From a quick visual inspection, many of my veins do actually appear to be in good useable conidition. However, none of those 'good looking' veins are actually fully functional. After inserting the needle and attaching the barrel, the veins simply give a little sputter of blood and stop flowing altogether. There have been times that I was required to have blood drawn, and not a single lab technician could find a useable vein on me. I have had technicians simply give up after 6 or 7 pokes, and then to tell me to go home and try again tomorrow. It is a very unpleasant experience.
Multiple attempts and pokes make for a very difficult and uncomfortable procedure not only for the patient, but for the medical professional as well. While it is currently a very costly piece of technology, VeinViewer does have the potential to revolutionize the process of venipuncture, and greatly improve the entire experience.
By K. Lanktree
- Freelance Writer -
- Blog Mistress -
- Former IV Drug User -
- Methadone Patient -
- Lover of all things Harm Reduction -
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