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New machines help find children’s veins

Children’s Hospital hopes the VeinViewer will ease children’s fears when they need to have blood drawn
Saturday, June 9, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:05 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The VeinViewer detects temperature differences between the skin and the veins and displays the veins on a green screen, making them easier for health care professionals to see.

When Children’s Hospital at MU Health Care asked Pascale’s Pals for a VeinViewer machine, Sylvie Carpentier, founder of the organization, did not hesitate to write the $25,000 check.

Carpentier’s daughter, Pascale White, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 1, and Carpentier recalls the difficulty of using IV needles on small children.

“It is very difficult to see (children’s) veins, and the average child gets sticked many times before you can get an IV in them,” Carpentier said. “It’s a very scary thing for many children.”

The VeinViewer machine uses infrared technology to detect the difference in temperature between the skin and veins, said Thomas Selva, professor of clinical child health at MU. The machine projects an image of a green screen with dark veins directly onto the patient’s skin.

“It gives you a road map just so you know you’re putting your needle in the right place,” Selva said.

Although the machine is helpful, it will not replace the need for skilled nurses and physicians.

“It won’t tell you how close or deep from the surface of the skin it is, so that’s where the skill comes in,” said Cindy Brooks, manager of the hospital’s pediatric services.

The VeinViewer technology was developed by Luminetx over the past several years and was put on the market in August 2006. The Children’s Hospital’s machine arrived last month and is the first in Missouri, Brooks said.

Although the VeinViewer can be used on any patient, it is used primarily in pediatrics.

“We can roll it anywhere,” Brooks said. “We can take it to the emergency room, the ICU or any other units, but we are keeping it in the Children’s Hospital because Pascale’s Pals, which donated it, wanted it to stay for the use of children.”

Pascale’s Pals is a not-for-profit organization that raises funds for the Children’s Hospital.

By contributing the VeinViewer machine, the organization hopes to make hospital visits less traumatic, Carpentier said.

“We try to make it in one stick and go,” Selva said. “The more we can do that, the less afraid (the patients) are going to be.”


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