Scene: the Emergency Room. A young woman strapped to a gurney is surrounded by three nurses attempting to find a vein to hook her up to an IV. She is in the middle of an episode of atrial fibrillation with tachycardia, her heart racing at a dangerous 200 bPM. The IV contains amiodarone, used to end or suppress ventricular tachycardia, but the panicked patient is proving a difficult target for the needles.
Such a situation is the perfect use for the VeinViewer, a new vein-contrast enhancement device. It helps nurses, physicians, and healthcare professionals to easily find veins and avoid unnessecary patient needle sticks. According to a study in the Journal of Nursing, for a simple successful catheter venipuncture, the number of needle sticks ranged from one to at 14. Pediatric use is an especially important application, because infants and children have very small veins.
How does it Work?
The system, developed by Luminetx, uses near-infrared light, a digital video camera, image processing software and a Digital image projector to display real-time images of veins onto the surface of the skin.
A light source shines a harmless, near-infrared light, which is reflected back to the skin surface from the tissue surrounding the vein, while no light is reflected back from the blood inside the vessel, creating the contrasting color areas. A digital video camera then captures the near-infrared light reflected back from the skin area of the patient. A microprocessor digitizes the signal from the camera, adds more contrast and transmits the image to a digital projector for display on the correct area of the patient’s skin.
It is already successfullyin use in at least one healthcare systems facilities, Memphis-based Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, but the company sees the potential for much wider usage including Blood Donation Centers, Cosmetic and Vascular Surgery, Dialysis Centers, Interventional Cardiology, Nursing Homes, Clinical Laboratories, Educational Centers and Oncology Practices.
Not only that, but the device requires no special training to operate, is completely non-invasive, and as it does not touch the patient, transmits no bacteria. A win-win for everyone.