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"Being able to image thicker tissue was a challenge, but by using the Dragon technology the powerful light sources enable penetration of thicker tissue and therefore lends itself to imaging vascular structures," said Dale Siegel, president of InfraRed Imaging Systems.
The IR light must be amplified and shifted in wavelength so that the operator can see the image. Once the IR light has made its way though the tissue, it travels in a straight line to the detector. In this case, the detector is a self adhesive type bandage. The IR light is then converted into an electrical signal, which is then converted into a visible image. This process is instantaneous, so the operator sees a real-time image of the vascular system.
The device offers economic gains as well as improved patient comfort. "Less IV failure means less hospital waste, which is directly translatable into cost savings, not to mention the benefit of only one IV attempt to the patient," Siegel said.
The IRIS Vascular View is currently in use in various clinical settings. The first clinical trial was conducted in 2004 in the Emergency Department at Pittsburgh's Allegheny General Hospital. The IRIS Viewer was used with the difficult-to-access radial artery to draw samples for arterial blood gas analysis. The uses of the IRIS Vascular Viewer reduced the number of attempts to obtain a sample by more than 40 percent. The number of blood gas kits used was reduced by more than 30 percent, and the time required to perform the procedure was reduced by 45 percent. "The feedback from the medical profession has been very positive," said Siegel. Medical applications also extend to children, where inserting needles can be a very tricky procedure.
Future generations of the IRIS device are being developed. "The current device uses a scope to provide the image, but future devices will utilize a LCD display or other imaging technology, like a heads-up display, virtual reality and other imaging modalities," said Siegel.