A recent article at Science Alert suggests that the way of the future is using infrared light to assist with finding where those sneaky veins lie beneath the skin.
The technology works by beaming harmless near-infrared light at your arm. Our veins contain a lot of deoxygenated haemoglobin, and because this is absorbed by infrared light, it creates an image of exactly where your veins are under the skin.
As the article correctly suggests, this technology has been around in hospitals etc for a while, and is making an appearance now in blood bank services.
I don’t know about you but I find that I have not had any particularly earth shattering, high-five moments by using this type of device to find veins, in fact the department where I work now has one that sits gathering dust in a corner.
My experience is that it illuminates a whole host of amazing veins network but doesn’t give much feedback on quality of vein (or usability for venipuncture), or any indication of how deep the vein is below the skin.
Rather, I would suggest that palpating a vein gives you better feedback on it’s usability, and in absolutely shut-down patients with no veins, bedside ultrasound guidance seems to remain the tried and true best practise.
Any thoughts, am I wrong in my assessment here?