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Say Goodbye to Painful Finger Pricks When Donating Blood at Cedars-Sinai

New Technology to Test Hemoglobin Level Is Noninvasive, Quick and Sting-Free

Still in the giving spirit as the new year begins? Consider giving blood.

At Cedars-Sinai, there’s another great reason to donate: What many consider the most painful part of the process—the finger stick to test hemoglobin level—is no more.

Now blood donors simply slip a ring-shaped sensor on their thumb. In under a minute, the sensor measures and displays hemoglobin, oxygen saturation level and pulse rate. A hemoglobin test is always done before donors give blood, as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to ensure that they aren’t anemic and that they are able to safely donate.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from our donors since we implemented this new technology earlier in the year,” said Armando Romero, associate director of Blood Donor Services at Cedars-Sinai. “Before, I would often hear donors say that the finger stick was more painful than the needle stick from the actual donation, and as a donor myself, I could attest to that. This noninvasive screening fixes that. It’s entirely painless.”

When fitted on the donor’s thumb, the OrSense hemoglobin analyzer applies pressure, obstructing blood flow. Using a method called occlusion spectroscopy, it measures light transmitted through the thumb to give an accurate hemoglobin reading quickly and easily.

The monitor has many benefits, in addition to being painless. It prevents potential transmission of infectious diseases, reduces the need for trained personnel, takes under a minute, and eliminates biohazardous waste.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood and/or platelets.

Donating blood at Cedars-Sinai is always encouraged to ease the strain on the national blood supply. And that’s especially true at the first of the year, when fewer people donate blood.

The first Cedars-Sinai blood drive of 2023 is Saturday, Jan. 7, with multiple additional blood drives scheduled in January throughout Los Angeles County.

To donate blood onsite at Cedars-Sinai, register online at donatebloodcedars.org or call (310) 423-4170.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: How Does Your Donated Blood Get to a Patient in Need?