If you have ever been jabbed twice in a blood-drawing process then you would be the first to appreciate an accurate robot that can do it just once. Researchers from Rutgers and Mount Sinai Hospital have developed a robot with the ability to see under the skin and do it better than any humans.
Using the blood-drawing robot could one day help minimize problems like infections and thrombosis when attempting to start an IV line.
It’s somehow easy to do blood-drawing from a patient with easy-to-access veins, but much harder for patients without visible or palpable veins, and especially with emaciated patients, which in most cases requires staff using an ultrasound machine to see veins more clearly.
The blood-drawing robot will skip all of that and head straight to the right point, using built-in ultrasound tech to guide the placement of the needle. The complete system also includes a module to handle samples and a centrifuge-based blood analyzer.
The researchers said that with easy to access veins, the machine can successfully draw blood 97 per cent of the time, and had an overall success rate of 87 per cent for 31 participants. Following an available report, clinicians fail between 27 and 60 per cent of the time for patients with difficult-to-access veins, depending on the nature of the problem.
As a Redditor pointed out, the robot seems to have a lower success rate than medical personnel when it comes to difficult-to-access veins, other than for emaciated people.
The blood-drawing robot is still a prototype and researchers could potentially improve its success rate. It could one day be used in ambulances, besides and emergency rooms for procedures like IV catheterization, dialysis and placing arterial lines.
“A device like ours could help clinicians get blood samples quickly, safely and reliably, preventing unnecessary complications and pain in patients from multiple needle insertion attempts,” said lead author Josh Leipheimer.