Pioneering Non-Invasive Vascular Technologies Since 1984

Ergonomics in the Exam Room: Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders

hand augment pain ergonomics

Bending, twisting, and hand cramps are some common precursors to MSD in medical diagnostic sonographers

When it comes to the typical vascular laboratory, one of the most dreaded tasks is the lower-extremity venous reflux exam. No matter how the patient is positioned, an RVT must either (a) strain herself to perform the augmentation, or (b) enlist the helping hand of a colleague. Both options pose different issues that can be detrimental to operations.

Ergonomic Impacts

Option A is the least ergonomic and has the potential to put the technologist out of work due to injury. Work-related musculoskeletal disorder (or MSD) is the number one cause of long-term illness absence in healthcare workers. In a survey, 84% of diagnostic medical sonographers suffer from some sort of injury. These injuries typically include carpal and cubital tunnel, epicondylitis of the elbow, neck and back strains, shoulder capsulitis, tendonitis, and tenosynovitis. Work activities known to cause MSD in sonographers include:

  • Repetitive motion
  • Forceful exertions or strain when pushing into a patient’s abdomen or compressing leg veins
  • Awkward postures or unnatural positions, commonly from reaching over patients during bedside exams

Economic Impacts

When a technologist misses work due to work-related MSD, no one wins. Economic impacts include:

  • Lost wages
  • More medical insurance claims and Worker’s Compensation claims
  • Increased sick and disability leave time
  • Compromised patient care

Option B, though it is the more ergonomic of the two given options, may not be much better. This time, the colleague helping with vein augmentations not only takes on some strain, but also becomes unavailable for her other tasks in the clinic.

Ideally, technologists should make use of lighter, more maneuverable equipment that promotes better ergonomics. For compressing leg veins during lower-extremity reflux exams, a portable, hands-free augmentation device is a recommended substitute for manual compression.

venapulse hands free augmentation device

The VenaPulse® device provides hands-free, standardized* augmentations


Sonographer Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders: What Are They and How Can They Be Prevented:

Ultrasound Ergonomics:

*Prospective comparison of the pneumatic cuff and manual compression methods in diagnosing lower extremity venous reflux:

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“What a treat!” A VenaPulse Device Experience

venapulse hands-free augmentation device foot cuffMany vascular technologists today continue to perform augmentations manually during venous reflux tests. Often times, they encounter tedious little inconveniences that make these tests drag on and on:  twisting and turning, slipping off the vein, etc. No wonder technologists dread these exams!

Leah Jolly, BS, RVT and her team at Mint Medical Education were no exception. However, Leah and her colleagues recently gave the VenaPulse Hands-Free Augmentation Device a try and they cannot wait to get one for their facility! The following is an email from Leah to ACI Medical’s VenaPulse device specialist:

Hi Lennie,

Happy New Year to you too!

My co-workers and I really enjoyed working with your device. We have been doing augmentations manually for years… what a treat to have a break from all the twisting and turning! It also seemed to shorten our exam times a bit, which was a nice bonus.

The foot cuff was VERY helpful when assessing the lower leg. I did have some difficulty adjusting it properly on patients with small feet. Otherwise, it made some of the more tedious parts of the exam fly by, knowing that we were able to get a good augmentation without slipping off the vein.

We loved the foot pedal control too – so much easier than a remote.

Our plan is to convice the boss to purchase a VenaPulse for us… Hopefully soon!

Do you think your facility could benefit from the VenaPulse device for venous reflux tests? You can give it a try for free today! ACI Medical even pays shipping. Call (888) 453-4356 or email for your free trial.

Venous Symposium Live Imaging

Venous Symposium Live Imaging

Assisted by the VenaPulse® Hands-Free Augmentation Device

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