Thursday, 30 January 2014

Automating the phlebotomy procedure

A team of researchers from VascuLogic have developed the world's first automated venipuncture medical device that automates the phlebotomy procedure, either for blood draws or the placement of IV lines. In validation studies on human subjects, the device demonstrated greater than 95% first stick accuracy, and additionally outperformed human phlebotomist controls.

56% of the adult population and 82% of pediatric population suffer from trypanophobia, the fear of needles. Trypanophobia is just one of the issues faced by clinicians when needing to draw blood. The researchers conducted their own intensive survey of over 200 phlebotomists, identified difficult venous access as a significant problem in small children, particularly in terms of pain, time, and patient and parent anxiety due to difficult/multiple needle stick(s).

One of the early challenges to the design of the device was the current vein imaging and modeling technology. The device relies on detailed and high quality images of the vein and its surrounding area to ensure the accuracy of the venipuncture. By improving the imaging technology with ultrasound and 3D reconstruction of the vein, the device is able to detect and perform the procedure in one stick. This negates the situation of having made multiple attempts for a successful venipuncture.

Though originally developed for pediatric hospitals, the device can also be applied to adult patients too. The only adjustment that needs to be made is the selection of the gauge needle based on the patient. This fully automated venipuncture device would greatly improve the entire procedure, save cost and above all, provide much needed relief to parents and patients facing difficult venipuncture procedures.

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