Trying in Vein To Take Blood
Vein-hungry and frustrated junior doctors could soon have a new weapon at their disposal to help them in their quest to locate the best veins for siting cannulas, or collecting blood samples. US firm Luminetx have developed the ultimate vampires assistant with their VeinViewer system which uses an infrared camera to pinpoint the positions of veins beneath the surface of the skin, and then projects in green a 'roadmap' of the blood vessel network onto the overlying skin. The system can also be used in cosmetic surgery to track down the so-called 'feeder vessels' which supply thread veins on the skin surface. These are often invisible and unless they are removed the problem recurs. The VeinViewer can make them much easter to spot and treat. It can also be used to improve the safety of Botox therapy - by ensuring that the wrinkle-ironing injection is placed in the muscle and not a vein. A compact version of the system has now been made for use in the clinic and should go on sale from early 2006.