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No needles needed for one blood test

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Can you imagine going to the doctor to get your blood tested, but no needles are involved? That's now an option when doctors have to test hemoglobin levels, for problems like anemia.

Hemoglobin is one of the most commonly ordered tests in both hospital and non-hospital settings, because it quickly assesses blood loss. Doctors at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women and Women's Specialists of Houston believe this is just the first of many similar tests to come.

We met up with a patient there who is relieved to not have to undergo so many blood draws. Ruijun How is pregnant, and her doctor is keeping an even closer eye on her now, because of her history of anemia. That means she would've been getting her blood drawn on a regular basis.

"I don't like to go into the lab to do my blood draw every time," says Ruijun. She won't have to deal with that anymore. A new device actually replaces needles.

"It's called the Pronto 7, and it's a fantastic device that allows us to check for anemia. It's something we check women for all the time. We're checking blood levels based on bleeding problems. With pregnancy, here at the Pavilion, we're doing it every day," explains Dr. Wanda Mott.

Texas Children's Pavilion for Women is one of the first to get the device, but it's catching on at doctor's offices all over Houston. It's especially appreciated in Pediatrician's offices, to take the stress off of children. Dr. Mott believes this test will lead the way to similar devices for other types of blood tests.

"Hemoglobin is probably just the beginning. Anything we can do that we don't have to draw blood all the time, especially women, it's going to make a big difference! Everything in medicine advances, and I'm looking forward to seeing it," says Dr. Mott.

She demonstrated how it works. It just slips on the finger for one minute and uses light waves & math logarithms through the fingernail. Again, right now, it only tests hemoglobin. "Hemoglobin is the oxygen carrying capacity of the red cell. It's a protein, certainly allows the red cell to be red. Oxygen that comes from lungs and goes out to the rest of the body. When people have low hemoglobin, they're anemic. They're tired or fatigued, get irritable, shortness of breath," she explains.

Another benefit, you don't have to anxiously await your results and then either get a phone call about them or a letter in the mail. "You don't have to wait for the result or you don't have to wait in lab while they're running the test! You can talk with doctors and communicate with doctors (immediately about the result) which is rare and nice, so I appreciate this," says Ruijun.

For more information, visit http://women.texaschildrens.org/ or http://www.masimo.com/pronto-7/.

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