I just saw a “veinviewer” image posted on Facebook–it’s a fascinating new technology that facilitates finding a good vein for a blood draw.
From a nurse I know, I understand there’s research being done that demonstrates the ultrasound as a means of locating deep veins for lines, or that can be used for obese patients. For subclavicular lines that lead essentially into the heart, one can see why this technology would be wonderful, decreasing misses, pain and trauma.
A friend of mine commented: “Man – it’d be nice if it helped them find my veins. Mine are deep and roll – even pro phlebotomists often have a hard time with me – I can’t tell you how many times they’ve had to go for a wrist (which REALLY hurts) or the back of my hand (not all that bad in comparison).” This elicited the advice I really posted this to spread, from my friend the nurse who offered:
“See if they have an IV team or PICC Nurse with an ultrasound machine who can help you out. For routine labs try wrapping your arm in a warm towel for 15 min prior to the draw.”
Being a person who has had some unhappy meetings with phlebotomists, I had evolved the practice of making sure I was well-hydrated before a blood draw, and I’ve been known to windmill my arms to get the circulation up, before going in. All these pieces of advice seem like good things to know and I am grateful to Facebook and my friends on this exchange for informing me!