The pulse oximeters work by comparing tissue absorption at 660 and 940 nm. I wonder if a 900+ nm IR filter combined with standard silicon-sensor camera (photo or webcam) and possibly additional 940nm (or close) LED light could do the same in a homemade rig.
That said, could the 940nm band of video be used for remote assessment of heartbeat rate? There was some buzz about such tech for e.g. airport security.
Great news. My blubber layer makes hitting a vein a real test of skill and luck for the phlebotomist.
Whenever I get a newbie or in-training phlebotomist swinging the needle around, looking fearful, and wavering over what part of my body to puncture, I always tell them to just go in though the track mark (from my other donations). It’s completely foolproof, and it calms both of us down.
This technology has been around for several years. At my last company, we worked with ViewViewer. We sold their product and had a sample one of the units at the office that I got to play with a couple of times.
I spoke with one of their reps at one point and was told that it was particularly useful with pediatrics because the high tech looking lights distract children and by having a better “stick” experience kids are less likely to be scared of having blood taken in the future.
I really liked this tech and did not understand why it was not being adopted for all blood donations. I spoke with people at my blood donation center about it and learned that it was pretty expensive still. I understand that this also has applications for surgical use.
I hope that this technology gets more press, becomes less expensive, and becomes more widely available because it’s great - non-invasive, safe, no drugs, reduces bad sticks…it’s just a fantastic innovation.
Sadly, in my experience these devices can help a bit, but don’t always work well enough to be useful. With some people the device can’t get a strong enough signal so it either shows nothing or flashes a different guess every second. A tourniquet and a good sense of touch still seems to work better, and you need that anyway to get the needle at the right depth.
As someone with tattoos near/over the stick point and remarkably low blood pressure this tech sounds like good news - that said I usually get handed off to the most experienced phlebotomist anyway because of this, yay.
I usually say something along the line of “smile, worst case you’ll prick me a few more times”. Also relaxes the atmosphere considerably.
As an ER RN, technologies like this make our patient’s lives easier. Some people are amazingly hard to place IVs into, even for the best. I/Os are good but not always reasonable or appropriate. We’ve been using and training on Ultrasound guided IVs for the “special” IVs we need for CTA. Patients appreciate it and the staff love the confidence booster. These vein veiwers are still expensive, but really look awesome. Tech to make scary painful things less scary and less painful! Go science!!!
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