Researchers create device that draws blood and outperforms human clinicians

News > World

   Cherish Kyeyune | Posted on May 20, 2020

Researchers at Rutgers University have created a blood sampling device that can draw blood from humans. A clinical trial was conducted on a group of participants, and the outcome exceeded expectations.   

According to a news release published by Rutgers, venipuncture is the most popular clinical procedure in the world, with over 1.4 billion venipuncture procedures performed annually in the United States. The process entails inserting needles into patients’ veins.  

The news release highlighted that not every venipuncture procedure is successful. The article noted that based on studies done in the past, the failure rate is 27% in patients without visible veins, 60% in patients experiencing extreme weight loss, and 40% in patients without veins that could be felt.   

Josh Leipheimer, a biomedical engineering doctoral student at Rutgers, who led the research mentioned in his thesis that venipuncture is the leading cause of injury in patients and clinicians in healthcare facilities, costing the US healthcare system over $4 billion every year.  

As a result of these challenges, Leipheimer and his team created a blood sampling device that was clinically tested on humans. The findings, published in the journal Technology, showed that the device performed the same as or better than humans. Blood was drawn from 31 participants with an overall success rate of 87%. The success rate was 97% for 25 participants who had visible veins.   

The sampling device uses ultrasound imaging technology and miniaturized robotics. This helps the device identify veins and draw blood.   

In an article published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Leipheimer expressed that the main challenge he faced with the device was combining needle maneuvering with the ultrasound.   

“You’re attempting to use the data from the ultrasound—this vessel position—to determine the necessary movements from the needle to reach this point,” he informed.   

The news release published by Rutgers noted that the results of this study will be used to improve the device’s performance by enhancing artificial intelligence in the robot.   

The device has potential benefits for clinicians. Leipheimer is quoted in the news release saying, “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.” 

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Cherish Kyeyune
Junior Writer

Cherish is a 19-year old writer based in Gros Islet, St. Lucia. In 2018 she graduated from Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, then took a break from school and rekindled her love for writing and art. During this time, she volunteered at a veterinary lab and interned at The Voice Publishing Co., where she wrote and proofread articles for the weekly newspaper and website. As a life-long resident of the Caribbean, she loves the beach and the ocean, and one day hopes to sail the world. She thinks STEM is intriguing because it teaches us how entities around the world work.

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