Does tapping enhance vasodilation for venipuncture?

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This study evaluated whether tapping enhances vasodilation in individuals with veins that are relatively difficult to palpate” Ichimura et al (2020).

Abstract:

INTRODUCTION: This study evaluated whether tapping enhances vasodilation in individuals with veins that are relatively difficult to palpate.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty participants (4 men and 16 women, aged 19-22 years) with cutaneous veins that were relatively difficult to palpate even after tourniquet application were recruited. A crossover trial with/without tapping (10 times in 5 s) was performed under tourniquet inflation on the upper arm. Vasodilation was evaluated by venous cross-sectional area, depth of the vein, and elevation of the overlying skin by ultrasonography. Venous palpation scores were also measured. The degree of improvement was estimated by simulation.

RESULTS: In total, 60% of participants “sometimes” or “often” experienced unsuccessful venipuncture. After the tapping procedure, the venous cross-sectional area significantly increased (14.6 ± 9.12 mm2 for control and 15.2 ± 9.79 mm2 for tapping) and venous depth significantly decreased (4.57 ± 2.31 mm for control and 4.23 ± 2.41 mm for tapping). A simulation study using these values suggested that tapping increased the longitudinal and crosswise successful ranges of venipuncture by 5-6%.

CONCLUSIONS: Tapping in this study enhanced the vasodilation of cutaneous veins that are relatively difficult to palpate. The effectiveness of various vasodilation methods may be compared through the estimation of improvement.

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Reference:

Ichimura, M., Sasaki, S. and Ogino, T. (2020) Tapping enhances vasodilation for venipuncture even in individuals with veins that are relatively difficult to palpate. Clinical Anatomy. January 7th. doi: 10.1002/ca.23559. .

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