X-Ray vision now provided for doctors at Hamilton hospital (sort of)

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Published December 15, 2023 at 5:34 pm

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) doctors have a new tool in their arsenal: x-ray vision.

Well, sort of. Thanks to a donation from the HHS Volunteer Association, the healthcare provider has been able to purchase a Vein Viewer Flex. This machine projects a light onto the patient’s skin. While the blood soaks up near-infrared light, the skin repels it allowing the doctor to see the glowing, highlighted veins.

This “makes it quick and easy to draw blood or insert an IV into the trickiest vein, in just one attempt,” HHS wrote. This also saves the patient from multiple needle jabs while the doctor tries to pin down a vein for an IV line.

“Some people naturally have small, thin veins, making them difficult to see. Dark skin tones can make veins hard to find. And ICU patients can have swelling that makes it challenging to locate their veins,” HHS wrote.

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at HHS’ Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is home to the viewer, purchased with a $10,000 donation from the Volunteer Association. This was part of a record-breaking $1.2 million in donations from the Volunteer Association focusing on bringing in new technologies and upgrading operating room equipment.

“We’re grateful to the Volunteer Association for this support,” says Jennifer Fife, the ICU’s clinical manager. “Our vein viewer not only makes inserting IVs more efficient for our nurses. It also means less pain and stress for our patients.”

There is a second vein viewer in Juravinski Hospital’s cancer ward to help put IV and PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) lines in cancer patients with hard-to-find veins.

The vein viewer is used primarily for smaller IV lines in arms and hands. It’s not used for central IV lines that go into larger arteries in the neck, chest and groin. Typically, ICU patients begin care on these central lines, and transition to smaller ones as they heal.

 

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