Targeting invisible veins might result in venepuncture complications or failure. In November 2014, we compared the diameter, depth and skin colour of invisible veins used for intravenous access with those of visible veins, aiming to provide information to improve venepuncture techniques. We measured artery depth to identify how close skin arteries were to the nearest venepuncture site. Study participants were hospitalized elderly patients. Vein diameter and vein and artery depths were measured using ultrasonic diagnostic equipment. Visualization became difficult for veins with diameters ≥ 2.3 mm and at depths ≥ 2.5 mm. The shallowest depth of arteries nearest the puncture site was 7.0 mm. Therefore, venepuncture techniques for intravenous injection should improve by targeting invisible veins with depths of 2.5 to < 7 mm in hospitalized elderly patients.
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