Upstate News

January 5, 2007
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

New device eases pain, stress of drawing blood for patients with hard-to-find veins

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— University Hospital is helping to ease the pain and anxiety associated with drawing blood or starting an intravenous therapy with the VeinViewer, a new device that uses near-infrared light and other technologies to locate veins and project their location onto the surface of the skin. University Hospital is currently the only hospital in Central New York using this device.

“Some people have veins that can be significantly difficult to locate and access,” said Leonard Hurteau, patient service director of Interventional Radiology. “For them, clinicians may need multiple attempts at needle sticks, causing the patient pain and anxiety. The VeinViewer shows us the exact location of locations of veins.”

Hurteau said patients are “impressed that the combination of skill and science can make the procedure successful on the first attempt.” VeinViewer is a mobile, non-invasive medical device that uses safe, near-infrared light and other technologies to locate veins and project their location onto the surface of the skin. The device features an adjustable unit that can be positioned over any part of the patient’s body to produce the image, leaving the clinician’s hand free to perform blood draw.

The VeinViewer’s light source differentiates red blood cells from surrounding tissues. A detector located in a video camera within the system receives the infrared light photons. A computer digitizes the photons, producing an image and projects the image onto the patient’s skin to show the location of the veins. Medical professionals may quickly and conveniently map a patient’s vasculature, regardless of age, size or ethnicity and without the device touching the patient.

VeinViewer differs from older transillumination technology because of the infrared light that makes the veins visible much deeper.

The VeinViewer is available through the Department of Interventional Radiology.

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