Vein-finding technology sheds light on patients with chronic conditions and helps return them to active, quality lives
Chronic conditions often require venous access to deliver treatment. In many cases this means multiple pokes to locate a vein that will hold up for needle insertion and IV placement. This task can be challenging for parents, patients, and even the most experienced infusion nurses. Missing a vein or sticking a patient multiple times may cause discomfort and anxiety―and in certain instances can lead to hematoma and infection.
New device alleviates ‘infusion confusion’
The latest advance in intravenous infusions and blood draws are vein finders. These devices―designed specifically to illuminate veins by using infrared light―allow nurses to take a closer look at patients’ veins and determine the most viable route for cannulation or injection.
Many hospitals and clinics spend thousands of dollars on vein-finding equipment, while personal devices are available for a couple hundred dollars. This new technology has the potential to lessen the burden on caretakers and self-infusers by offering numerous benefits to patients, including:
- Fewer sticks
- Decrease in pain and discomfort
- Lower risk of infection and hematoma
- Greater protection of veins for future use
There are pros and cons associated with any emerging technology. Vein illuminators can be pricy pieces of equipment, and while some facilities are willing to bear that cost, many hospitals and clinics simply don’t have the budget to purchase the larger, more powerful machines. The more affordable hand-held devices can be a challenge to operate for independent patients who stick themselves.
While we don’t have the technology to eliminate needles altogether, vein-finding devices inspire hope that venous access becomes easier and more efficient for the growing population living with chronic conditions.