Researchers develop automated venipuncture device that automates phlebotomy procedure

Published on January 10, 2014 at 9:10 AM · No Comments

A new medical device has been developed that will provide phlebotomists and clinicians with a technology to enable blood drawing accuracy at first stick. This is particularly important considering the diverse patient demographic each with various levels of difficult venous access. Soon, this enhanced accuracy will greatly reduce patient discomfort as well as procedure time and cost.

A team of researchers from VascuLogic, LLC, 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 both in vitro and in vivo validation studies, including validation 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 paediatric population suffer from trypanophobia, the fear of needles. Tryphanophobia is just one of the issues faced by clinicians when needing to draw blood. The researchers from Vasculogic, LLC conducted their own intensive survey of over 200 US based 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). Additionally they have validated that parent acceptance of the device is over 98%, given demonstrated efficacy and safety of the device.

First and foremost, the team worked on the safety features for the new device. Arm restraints, real-time tracking during injection at every 3 milliseconds, and sterile disposable sleeves to prevent contamination between patients, are some of the safety features implemented.

One of the early challenges to the design of the device was the current vein imaging and modelling 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 make multiple attempts for a successful venipuncture.

“We are encouraged by the autonomous device as it demonstrates a solution to alleviate the anxiety both parents and children experience with a phlebotomy procedure,” said Tim Maguire, Ph.D., Vasculogic’s CEO. “For children and their families having to bear difficult or multiple needle sticks, the fear of a visit to their doctor is very real. Therefore, any peace of mind we can provide, particularly when a child is fearful or needs ongoing venous access, would be of tremendous benefit.”

Though originally developed for paediatric 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 venipucture 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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