Babies in intensive care face enough challenges without having to endure the discomfort as a nurse tries to find a good vein. The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center has introduced revolutionary technology that projects the location of a patient’s veins directly on the surface of the skin, providing a vascular road map in real time. The VeinViewer allows doctors and nurses to see the smallest veins, reducing the number of needle sticks on tiny babies, helping to prevent infection and reducing anxiety in new parents. The Children’s Hospital is the only hospital in Oklahoma City to use the near-infrared technology routinely in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Kris Sekar, MD, a neonatologist at The Children’s Hospital said the VeinViewer detects hemoglobin in veins, allowing medical professionals to more easily differentiate between veins and arteries.
“The technology truly has an impact on patient care. It results in fewer needle sticks. As a result, you have fewer opportunities for infection,” said Sekar.
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VeinViewer uses non-invasive technology for treatments and procedures including, but not limited to, IV insertion, routine venipuncture (blood sampling) and PICC line insertion. Although performed frequently, venipuncture is commonly thought of as one of the most painful and anxiety-provoking invasive procedures performed by nurses.
During a news briefing on Friday, new mother Elizabeth Knight of Ardmore, Oklahoma told reporters the VeinViewer makes it easier on parents who are already worried about their babies in the NICU. The device has been used on her 12-day-old son, Kameron, who was born prematurely.
“It makes me feel less anxious to know nurses can find Kameron’s veins the first time,” Knight said.
The VeinViewer, developed by Christie is an upgrade from a previous machine used at The Children’s Hospital and provides an image much better than older Venoscopes, which simply illuminates a body part, nurses said.
Besides near-infrared light, the VeinViewer system uses a digital video camera and an image processing unit to build an image of the patient’s vasculature. The device then projects that image, in real time, onto the patient’s skin using visible light. Health care professionals can keep their hands free during procedures while the system accurately maps the patient’s vasculature regardless of age, body type or skin tone.
THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AT OU MEDICAL CENTER
The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center has 320-inpatient beds and is the only comprehensive children's hospital in Oklahoma. The Children’s Hospital’s pediatric staff blends together years of specialized pediatric training with education, research and technology to treat conditions ranging from cardiothoracic and oncology related illnesses to neonatal specialty care and pediatric solid-organ transplants. The Children’s Hospital’s 88-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provides the highest level of neonatal care in Oklahoma and was one of the first hospitals in the country to provide total, comprehensive care for mothers and their newborns all in the same building.
Additionally, the Women's & Newborn Center at The Children's Hospital provides family-centered newborn care for all types of deliveries—from routine to complicated, high-risk deliveries and offers the most comprehensive obstetrics program in the state. The Children’s Hospital is part of the OU Medical System and was recognized in U.S. World News and Report as the #1 Hospital in Oklahoma City for 2011-2012.
Susan Bedwell Clinical Nurse Specialist
Kris Sekar, MD Neonatologist
Elizabeth Knight mother of Kameron Knight, current NICU patient born 4-30-12
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