I'm not a medical professional. My wife has really-hard-to-find veins and every time she has a venipuncture, it's really long and complicated process for half an hour, multiple nurses are trying and trying... Big part of the medical facilities stop working because they are not able to find one vein. Other patients are waiting.

None of the medical facilities we were in, have any vein finder devices. Google search finds devices cca between $60 and $3500.

My question is: are these devices only fancy gadgets, but useless in real life? If not, which product category should I search for? If it works, I'm almost sure in some cases device like this can pay for itself in like few weeks...

  • 2
    when you say "trying" are they looking, and touching, or do they put a needle in that doesn't work out and they have to poke repeatedly? Because there is a difference between seeing a vein, and seeing a vein where you can get in properly. Commented May 15 at 18:01
  • @KateGregory by trying I mean something like "is this a vein? I don't know for sure... This one? Nope... Maybe I will try this one..". And in the end, she gets at least 3 needles, 2 of them without success. Even when they have the best nurse in the facility who worked with children in critical care unit before.
    – rooobertek
    Commented May 16 at 19:23
  • 1
    related answer from me medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/questions/18484/… has a number of tips to be less of a "tough stick" - some of these may help a little. Commented May 16 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


Most medical facilities will have point-of-care ultrasound devices somewhere which can be (and are) used to find veins and aid in i.v. placement.

Usually [citation needed] the issue is not to find veins but to properly draw blood (puncturing the vein is also fairly easy - believe me :D)- ultrasound guidance will help with insertion as well.

I have not used a vein finder device so can not comment on them, but in the end would expect most physicians or nurses to be more accustomed to POCUS and prefer this.

  • 2
    In the US, many patients whose doctors order lab work are sent to lab companies that provide this service. You go to a facility staffed entirely by phlebotomists and maybe a nurse. Bloods are drawn, sent to their labs, and results returned the next day or so. I doubt any of them have ultrasound devices. That's something you find in hospitals, not outpatient settings.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented May 16 at 0:50
  • @CareyGregory Learned something new!
    – Narusan
    Commented May 16 at 7:07
  • @Narusan I'm from a small EU country with mostly state health care system, not the richest one. I have never heard about POCUS venipuncturing and I guess nobody owns it here for this purpose (still, I'm not working in health care, I could be wrong). It looks cool after watching a video on youtube, but when it's not a standard in the country's system, it will be hard to bring it as something new... And almost impossible when I see the price
    – rooobertek
    Commented May 16 at 19:42
  • No for sure, my suggestion was not to buy and bring an ultrasound device! But many/some general physicians, most ER rooms and some outpatient clinics have their own ultrasound devices. Usually, doctors will have learned to place large central venous catheters with ultrasound guidance and the same technique can be applied for peripheral veins. It's "overkill" and this is why it is not done regularly but one can use it for difficult veins. My suggestion was merely to use the imaging system in place (POCUS or any ultrasound device) instead of bringing your own vein finder
    – Narusan
    Commented May 16 at 21:52

They work, but may not resolve the issue with obtaining blood. Vein finder devices, using near-infrared light, make it easier to identify patent veins compared to normal visual inspection/palpation alone. My observation has been that they are used more frequently in children, and have benefits in all ages when it is difficult to find a vein in the first place.

If the veins can be seen but staff are struggling to access them and get blood out, the devices will be less helpful.

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