Thursday, April 9, 2015

Does Vein Finder Technology Lead to Fewer Needle Sticks?

How does vein visualization technology work?

Several different companies produce devices designed to help find veins. A quick Google search shows that you can order your own device from Amazon or Ebay if you wanted to. There is even a DIY video on YouTube that teaches how to make your own device for under $50.

I’ve personally seen three different devices in action over the years. Each one worked in a similar fashion using LED infrared light. Hemoglobin in the blood absorbs infrared light; so when the device is held above the skin, veins appear in contrast to surrounding tissue (either darker or lighter depending). At least one company has taken the technology a step further and projects a digital image of the veins back onto the skin.

I have to say that even with vein visualization devices, nurses have to rely upon their skills, and a bit of faith, to access veins that simply cannot be seen by the naked eye or infrared light. These devices do not magically make the process simple. So often with me, the vein finder simply provided confirmation that there were indeed NOT sufficient veins in the area being searched.

One of my favorite moments was when someone pulled out a keychain with an infrared light on it to quickly peek under my skin. It wasn’t as powerful as the portable, handheld devices that are commercially available, but it did seem to work to find a few veins in a small area. I should have asked where he got the keychain; maybe it’s worth carrying something like that around in your purse just for those pesky IV/blood draw situations if you are a hard stick.

Have your healthcare professionals ever used a vein finder with you? Did it seem to help?

Read this post in its entirety:

Are Vein Finders the Answer to Fewer Needle Sticks?

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