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This paper investigated whether tapping on the median cubital vein or massaging the forearm was more effective in obtaining better venous palpation for venipuncture. Forty healthy volunteers in their twenties were subjected to tapping (10 times in 5 sec) or massage (10 strokes in 20 sec from the wrist to the cubital fossa) under tourniquet inflation on the upper arm. Venous palpation was assessed using the venous palpation score (0-6, with 0 being impalpable). Three venous factors―venous depth, cross-sectional area, and elevation―were also measured using ultrasonography. The venous palpation score increased significantly by tapping but not by massage. Moreover, all 3 venous measurements changed significantly by tapping, while only the depth decreased significantly by massage. The three venous measurements correlated significantly with the venous palpation score, indicating that they are useful objective indicators for evaluating vasodilation. We suggest that tapping is an effective vasodilation technique.
Acta Medica Okayama
Okayama University Medical School
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