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Do Your Children Fear Needles? How a Needle-Free Blood Draw May Help

Posted 7/13/2018 by UHBlog

Many people dread needles. If it makes it difficult to vaccinate your child, talk to us about strategies that help kids overcome and manage their fear of needles.

Doctor in surgery examining young girl

Many kids – and adults as well – fear needles. It’s one of the biggest reasons people give for skipping flu shots. While needleless injections may someday be the norm, one type of needle stick – the kind used to draw blood from hospitalized patients – is changing.

In September, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital will begin to use the PIVO™ needleless device, developed by medical technology company Velano Vascular for children staying in the hospital who must have their blood drawn for medical tests.

The device offers a painless approach to blood draws by using the intravenous (IV) line that already is in place.

Fewer Needle Pokes

“At Rainbow Babies & Children’s, we have an elaborate pain management system, including ’poke plan’ rules for when a child’s blood can be drawn,” says pediatric infectious diseases specialist Claudia Hoyen, MD, director of Pediatric Innovation at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “PIVO fits perfectly within our plan.”

With traditional IVs, the plastic material gets soft once it’s at body temperature and so can only be used to pump solutions into the patient. This necessitates a separate needle for blood draws.

With PIVO, the device is put through the established IV and is more rigid, allowing blood to be drawn through it.

The only limitation, Dr. Hoyen says, is that the PIVO’s tiniest gauge material is still too large for some of the smallest children who come to the hospital.

“The product is so amazing because you’re using a device that’s already established,” Dr. Hoyen says. “It’s never nice to be woke up at 5 in the morning and have a needle stuck in your arm.”

Ohio Connection

PIVO has a unique connection to UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Velano Vascular CEO Eric Stone, a native Clevelander, was hospitalized at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital a number of times as a teenager. He developed a fear of needles.

“Eric had a personal experience with our hospital,” Dr. Hoyen says. “Part of the fabric and DNA at Rainbow Babies & Children’s is how we partner with parents and patients. Their comments and ideas for improvements are what help to drive innovations. We’re delighted that one of our former patients felt empowered to make a difference.”

Claudia Hoyen, MD is a pediatric infectious diseases specialist, director of Pediatric Innovation and medical director, Pediatric Infection Control at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. You can request an appointment with Dr. Hoyen or any other doctor online.

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