Reducing the OW factor

When it comes to having blood drawn or an IV inserted, some patients might as well be turnips or stones. The veins of the very young, the elderly, and users of "needle drugs" are notoriously hard to find, and repeated attempts don't sit well with anyone. The VeinViewer Imaging System developed by Luminetx Technologies Corp. could put an end to human pincushions.

The $25,000 device stands ~5 ft. tall on a wheeled base and emits a near-IR light onto the skin, which produces different reflections from hemogobin and surrounding tissue. The light is captured by a photon detector in the VeinViewer head; a computer digitizes the photons, builds an image, and projects it onto the patient's skin using visible light to show the location of veins. It works on patients of any age, gender, body type, and skin tone.

VeinViewer is currently being used to insert IVs and PICC lines, draw blood samples, and to treat spider veins. Knowing the location of larger vessels underlying these mats of tiny veins facilitates the use of sclerosants, which cause spider veins to shut down. (