Few medical instruments evoke the stomach-churning dread that needles do, especially when finding the vein takes multiple stabs. But thanks to a new wearable trans-dermal imaging system from Evena Medical, even neophyte nurses will be able to tap your veins without turning your arms into pin cushions.
The Eyes-On Glasses System combines Evena's own proprietary multi-spectral 3D imaging technology with Epson's Moverio smart glasses—a set of commercially-available binocular HD spectacles—to provide medical practitioners an anatomically-accurate, real-time view "through" the patient's flesh to the underlying vascular structure.
"Studies have shown that up to 40% of IV starts require multiple attempts to locate and access a vein, which not only wastes valuable nursing time but also delays therapy and causes patient discomfort and dissatisfaction," said Frank Ball, Evena Medical President and CEO, in a press statement. "With Evena's Eyes-On Glasses, nurses can quickly and easily locate and access the best veins for each patient – even in challenging clinical environments such as pediatric or neonatal units."
During a phone interview, Ball explained to Gizmodo,
Vivipuncture is the most common invasive procedure in all of medicine and that's were someone is being stuck with a needle to access a vein. The problem is that they still do it the same way they've always done it—blind. The nurse generally knows where the vein should be and tries to locate it by feel. Sometimes they can't, have to guess, and end up "knitting" the needlye under the skin to find it. This not only damages the surrounding tissue but the vein itself as well. There was a time when we set bones without seeing what we were doing, just by feel. But with the advent of X-Ray, setting them be feel would constitute malpractice these days.
Here we are at the cusp of a whole new technology: vascular imaging which allows nurses to see exactly where their aiming for. By putting that image up on the screen, the nurse can see then entire arm and make a better assessment. [The nurse] doesn't have to aim for the most easily accessible vein, she'll be able to select the "best" location.
To actually discover and evaluate potential vivipuncture sites, Ball continued,
We beam intense light at four specific wavelengths in the infrared and short infrared bands. This light penetrates up to 10 mm of tissue and are absorbed by de-oxygenated hemoglobin, venous blood, but is reflected by oxygen-rich arterial blood and other tissues. This creates a contrast of dark areas (the veins) and the surrounding lighter tissues to create a two tone image on the screen.
We do image pre-processing on the camera, post-processing in a separate computer, and present that image onto the display screen—or rather in the case of the Eyes-On, they're projected onto the center of the lenses. This gives us a very clear, high-definition image in a HUD (Heads-Up Display) format so that the medical staff can keep their eyes on the patient and maintain that important face-to-face contact, rather than looking away at a monitor.
What's more, the Eyes-On system automatically logs the biometric data it collects from each procedure and stores it with the rest of the patient's medical records. And by leveraging the Moverio's Wi-Fi connectivity, everything that the nurse sees can easily be shared with doctors anywhere in the world.