By Christin Melton, Editor, Oncology & Biotech News and Contemporary Oncology | May 14, 2010
Patients with cancer endure a lot of needle sticks. They routinely get blood drawn for testing or have intravenous (IV) lines and PICC lines inserted for administration of chemotherapy drugs or fluids. Over time, their peripheral veins can become sclerotic and increasingly difficult to access. And in pediatric patients with cancer, finding a usable vein is always a challenge. Repeatedly sticking a patient to look for a suitable vein causes pain, increases the risk of infection, and takes more of your time as a care provider. The need to eliminate the trial-and-error approach to vein hunting is what motivated Christie Medical Holdings Inc. (formerly Luminetx Corporation) to develop VeinViewer in 2006.
This month, the company announced the launch of the third generation of VeinViewer, the VeinViewer Vision. Using Christie’s patented process, the device directs near-infrared light onto the patient’s skin, which bounces light back from the tissue surrounding each vein to a digital video camera (the blood inside the veins does not reflect light). A processing unit inside the camera uses contrast to enhance the image and projects it digitally on the skin’s surface, providing a real-time view of the patient’s vasculature. The fine detail allows visualization of veins even in infants. This allows the care provider to select the best vein before the needle ever makes contact with the skin. This fast, painless procedure is noninvasive and does not damage tissue. According to Christie Medical, VeinViewer technology “reduces the number of attempts to start an IV by 50%,” and “reduces time to start an IV by 50%,” resulting in greater patient satisfaction.
When the VeinViewer prototype was debuted in 2004, Time Magazine added it to their list of the year’s “most amazing inventions.” Since its official launch in 2006, several children’s hospitals, cancer centers, and other medical facilities have adopted the technology. In 2009, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Pensacola began using VeinViewer. Robert Patterson, MD, medical director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, said in a press release, “The VeinViewer allows us to perform lifesaving therapies much faster, with less trial and error and less discomfort to our patients.”
The newest evolution of the VeinViewer system is significantly smaller and lighter than its predecessor. In fact, the imaging unit is small enough to hold in one hand. It can also be anchored on a mobile base for hands-free use. VeinViewer Vision runs on a rechargeable battery with a long life. According to Christie Medical, it is 600% brighter and visualizes veins two times deeper than competing devices. To learn more about the device, which is sold in 40 countries, visit www.veinviewer.com. The original model cost ~$30,000. The price of the new system is not listed at the product’s Website.
If you are at the Oncology Nursing Society 35th Annual Congress, you can see VeinViewer Vision in action at Booth 1910. Let them know OncNurse sent you!