Suction technology inspired by love-bites could cut the number of botched injections on the NHS, after work by researchers at Nottingham Trent University.
Each year 30 million cannulations are performed on the NHS with up to a third failing first time – in child patients 50% fail at the initial attempt.
Vacuderm, developed by Olberon Medical Innovations, uses suction to increase the size of veins, making them easier to locate – mimicking the effect of a hickey.
The academics hope their innovation will improve the psychological experience for patients and save money, time and waste for the NHS.
It also warms blood in the vein, meaning infrared cameras can be used to identify hard to spot veins.
Professor Amin Al-Habaibeh, a professor in intelligent engineering systems, in the university’s School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment, said: “Veins can be especially hard to find in people who have poor or no visible veins and in certain groups of people such as children and older people.
“If a clinician has to try several times to find a vein, it can be traumatic for both the practitioner and patient.
“But this simple technology, which works on a similar basis to a love-bite, could help reduce the number of botched injections significantly by making veins more prominent and easier to find.”
The tool is based on a tourniquet and includes a manual pump to create suction.
Dr Arash Bakhtyari, chief executive officer of Olberon Medical Innovations, said: “The Vacuderm was developed because patients had bad experiences with needle insertion and this study shows that the Vacuderm is likely to help with this.”