The Vasculuminator

Institute Quantivision (IQ) success story

The Vasculuminator is a clinical device to visualize blood vessels to increase the success of venipuncture and reduce complications during blood redrawing or intravenously administration of medication. The development of the vasculuminator is a good example of a problem or need for improved imaging from the patient perspective. The concept of the vasculumator was invented by IQ member Prof Rudolf Verdaasdonk, then working at the University Medical Center Utrecht, motivated by his personal experience when blood had to be draw from his son (an afro-american baby with dark skin). Multiple punctures were necessary inducing anxiety and trauma to the baby and the parents since the blood vessels were not visible underneath the skin. This problem exists in 15-20 % of small children and also is also a well know ‘complication’ in adults. After development of a prototype, a clinical study in the WKZ children’s hospital showed a decrease in puncture failure from 13 to 2%.

The VascuLuminator uses near-infrared light (~ 800 nm), which can penetrate up to several centimeters into tissue but is still absorbed by blood, which enables discrimination between blood vessels and surrounding tissues near the skin surface. Either reflected or transilluminated NIR light on the skin is imaged by a NIR sensitive CCD camera and displayed on a LCD monitor in an ergonomic setting. The system is used for imaged guided vessel puncture similar to a car navigation system: you look at the display when you don’t know the way (don’t see vessels).

After promising clinical results the system was developed to a relative low cost commercial system (~ 5000 Euro) in close cooperation between the researchers/engineers in the hospital and investors/companies. The impact on clinical care will be significant being able to perform venipuncture more effective (time reducing = cost reducing) and especially making venipuncture a less traumatic experience for patients.

Based on the concept of the vasculuminator: low cost, easy to use, mobile imaging system, other imaging applications are under development e.g for imaged guided surgery.