Validation of the performance of a practical blood vessel imaging system to facilitate vessel punctures

Natascha J. Cuper, Rudolf M. Verdaasdonk, Rowland De Roode

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A practical system to visualize vessels underneath the skin has been developed, based on near-infrared (NIR) transillumination. A study in the clinical setting proved the system to be useful as a support in blood withdrawal in young children. During clinical application it was found that performance varied depending on vessel size, depth of vessels and surrounding lighting conditions. To gain more insight on the different variables that determine functioning of the system, we performed phantom studies. A combined liquid/solid phantom was fabricated with similar optical properties as the tissue layers of skin reported in literature at 850 nm. This phantom was used to estimate the depth of visibility in the relation to vessel size and darkness of the skin. Vessel contrast was determined analytically from images and evaluated by 3 independent observers. The knowledge gained from these experiments will be helpful to improve the imaging system and develop a solid phantom to be used as a gold standard to test the system under various clinical lighting conditions. The working range of the system was found to be appropriate to visualize the vessels used for the most procedures, such as blood withdrawal and placement of intravenous lines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number716918
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventAdvanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic Systems VII 2009 - San Jose, United States
Duration: 25 Jan 200926 Jan 2009


  • Near-infrared
  • Optical properties
  • Tissue phantom
  • Venipuncture
  • Vessel imaging

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