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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 365902, 15 pages
Review Article

Towards a Low-Cost Mobile Subcutaneous Vein Detection Solution Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

1Advanced ICT Research Group (AIRG), Farmadent Pharm., 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
2Laboratory of Geometric Modelling and Multimedia Algorithms, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
3Department of Vascular Surgery, University Medical Centre Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
4Institute for Media Communication, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
5Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 2, 8036 Graz, Austria
6Institute of Information Systems and Computer Media, Graz University of Technology, Inffeldgasse 16c, 8010 Graz, Austria

Received 26 March 2014; Accepted 11 April 2014; Published 30 April 2014

Academic Editor: Uwe Wollina

Copyright © 2014 Simon Juric et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Excessive venipunctures are both time- and resource-consuming events, which cause anxiety, pain, and distress in patients, or can lead to severe harmful injuries. We propose a low-cost mobile health solution for subcutaneous vein detection using near-infrared spectroscopy, along with an assessment of the current state of the art in this field. The first objective of this study was to get a deeper overview of the research topic, through the initial team discussions and a detailed literature review (using both academic and grey literature). The second objective, that is, identifying the commercial systems employing near-infrared spectroscopy, was conducted using the PubMed database. The goal of the third objective was to identify and evaluate (using the IEEE Xplore database) the research efforts in the field of low-cost near-infrared imaging in general, as a basis for the conceptual model of the upcoming prototype. Although the reviewed commercial devices have demonstrated usefulness and value for peripheral veins visualization, other evaluated clinical outcomes are less conclusive. Previous studies regarding low-cost near-infrared systems demonstrated the general feasibility of developing cost-effective vein detection systems; however, their limitations are restricting their applicability to clinical practice. Finally, based on the current findings, we outline the future research direction.