New portable vein-finding devices tested

3 Nov 2014

Still from 'New Technology for the Blood Service'. Image via

For medical professionals, finding veins in certain patients can often be a chore, but a new Australian study into the use of a device to visualise blood donors’ veins more easily during donation processes could change all that.

The portable devices look quite nifty in that, using ‘near-infrared technology’, they basically map out a patient’s veins on the skin’s surface. The current trials are looking into whether these products can reduce patient anxiety and encourage donors to revisit blood donor clinics more often.

“Veins have a lot of deoxygenated haemoglobin that absorbs near infrared light and the device is able to use this information to project the image,” explained Dr Dan Waller, researcher at the Australian Red Cross blood service and one of the senior investigators on the trial.

“Donor centre staff have found the technology particularly useful in cases where the vein is not visible to the naked eye. We are keen to retain our young donors, and it is important to test if this technology may help us do that.”

The study will assess the responses of 300 first-time and 600 return donors aged 18-30 attending the Chatswood and Elizabeth Street donor centres in Sydney.

However, this new device won’t help with the detection of blood-flow blockages throughout the body, with Waller explaining, “these devices are not for diagnostic testing, such as detecting blocked arteries.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic