Robot successfully samples blood
A team of biomedical engineers has created a blood-sampling robot that performed as well or better than people in a human clinical trial. The automated blood drawing and testing device includes an ultrasound-image-guided robot that draws blood from veins, a module that handles samples and a centrifuge-based blood analyser.
In the future, the device could be used in procedures such as IV catheterisation, central venous access, dialysis and placing arterial lines.
Results using the device — published in the journal Technology — were comparable to or exceeded clinical standards, with an overall success rate of 87% for the 31 participants whose blood was drawn. For the 25 people whose veins were easy to access, the success rate was 97%.
Venipuncture is claimed to be the world’s most common clinical procedure, yet clinicians fail in 27% of patients without visible veins, 40% of patients without palpable veins and 60% of emaciated patients.
Repeated failures to start an IV line increase the chance of phlebitis, thrombosis and infections, and may require targeting large veins in the body or arteries. As a result, venipuncture is among the leading causes of injury to patients and clinicians. Difficulty accessing veins can increase procedure time by up to an hour, requiring more staff and increasing costs.
“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, from the Yarmush lab at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
Next steps include refining the device to improve success rates in patients with difficult veins to access. Data from this study will be used to enhance artificial intelligence in the robot to improve its performance.
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