Transillumination of the palm for venipuncture in infants

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To assess the efficacy of transillumination of the palm of the hand in establishing venous access in small infants.


One hundred infants aged 2 to 36 months were considered for venipuncture under transillumination following failure to find an accessible vein or a failed venipuncture attempt.


In 40 of the 100 infants, a vein was visible with transillumination. In 22 of these children, previous attempts to achieve a venous line failed (mean number of failed venipunctures 2.11 ± 0.6) and in 18 infants, no vein could be identified. Using transillumination, venous access was established with just one venipuncture in 39 of the 40 patients.


Transillumination of the palm can aid in establishing venous access in infants. This can be easily carried out using a common otoscope.

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