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The Secret of VeinViewer's Accuracy? DLP Technology

Brian Buntz

June 8, 2013

3 Min Read
The Secret of VeinViewer's Accuracy? DLP Technology

The VeinViwer can detect spaces between veins measuring a fraction of a millimeter. 

On the market today, there are several technologies designed to help clinicians locate veins for applications ranging from drawing blood to inserting an IV. "The problem we've seen is that even though these technologies exist, nurses miss time and time again," says George Pinho, President, Christie Medical (Memphis), a division of Christie Digital Systems.

The company has developed a device known as the VeinViewer to help improve nurses' accuracy when locating veins. Developed in the firm's offices in Kitchener, ON, Canada, they developed a device known as the VeinViewer that relies on digital light processing (DLP) technology using full field imagers to generate highly accurate images of the venous map on a patient. The company recently has completed a 3000 data-point study confirming the accuracy of the device, which compares favorably to the current gold standard for vein location: ultrasound. "We always thought that was extremely important to vascular access to be able to reproduce vein width and vein depth accurately in order to do a correct stick on the patient," Pinho says. "The technology we use creates very high resolution and maps on the patient."  It is common for patients to have veins located closely to each other. "And if the resolution is low in a vein imaging system, those two veins might appear as a single vein," he explains. "A nurse could stick the patient in between the veins or damage them. Or technology has such a resolution that we can detect vein spacings as little as a quarter of a millimeter." 

When developing the device, the company invested a significant amount of time focusing on how the technology reproduces the vein image on the patient in order to produce a highly accurate vein map to do proper sticking. "Our clinical data on shows that we are able to reduce the number of stick attempts, the time to first stick, and reduce the overall time it takes to perform a stick," Pinho says.

The closest competing product to the VeinViewer is the AccuVein, which uses a laser raster scanning system to generate an image map of the veins on a patient's skin. "Laser technology works well in generating an image but the spot size of the laser is the limiting factor in generating the resolution," Pinho says. "Whereas with our technology, it is basically done with a DLP imaging chip, much like what is used in [Christie's] projectors. That technology is limited by the resolution of the DLP chip. So by using a high resolution DLP chip, we are able to produce very high resolution images of patient veins."

Brian Buntz is the editor-in-chief of MPMN and Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz

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