Medical

Blood-sampling robot excels in first human trials

Blood-sampling robot excels in...
The Rutgers robot, doing what it does best
The Rutgers robot, doing what it does best
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The Rutgers robot, doing what it does best
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The Rutgers robot, doing what it does best

A couple of years ago, we heard about a robotic device that was designed to draw blood samples. And while it had only been tested on artificial arms at the time, it's now been successfully trialed on real live humans.

Created by a team at New Jersey's Rutgers University, the device is initially placed over a patient's arm, after which it uses an ultrasound imaging system to locate a good vein. It then proceeds to stick a needle into that vein, drawing a blood sample that it could transfer into an accompanying centrifuge-based blood analyzer – that analyzer was utilized in the 2018 artificial-arm tests.

In the recent experiments, the blood-sampling robot was used on 31 volunteers. It was 97-percent successful at drawing blood from the 25 participants whose veins were easy to access, and had an overall success rate of 87 percent.

The researchers claim that such figures meet or exceed clinical standards. More precisely, Rutgers states that according to previous studies, clinicians fail to properly insert needles into the veins of 27 percent of patients lacking visible veins, 40 percent of patients without palpable veins, and 60 percent of emaciated patients.

Along with obtaining blood samples, the robot could conceivably also be used in procedures including IV catheterization, dialysis, and the placing of arterial lines. When human workers repeatedly fail in their attempts to access veins for such procedures, complications such as phlebitis, thrombosis and infections may result.

"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," says PhD candidate Josh Leipheimer, lead author of a paper on the research.

That paper was published this week in the journal Technology.

Source: Rutgers University

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