Reduce risk of blood clots

Patients recovering from a stroke can dramatically reduce their risk of blood clots by wearing a device that is half the size of a wristwatch around their leg, a new trial has found.

A study at Royal Stoke University Hospital in the UK found that the electro-stimulation band, known as a geko, could reduce the risk of clots compared with standard treatment, was comfortable to wear and could save hospitals money.

The battery-powered geko, which is approved for use on Britain’s NHS for other conditions, is designed to increase blood flow in the deep veins of the legs by stimulating the common peroneal nerve, activating the calf and foot muscles. As a result, patients benefit from about 60pc of the effect of walking without having to move.

Dr Indira Natarajan, a consultant and clinical director of neurosciences, conducted an in-hospital study. It found that of 219 patients fitted with the geko there was no evidence of blood clots within three months of discharge, compared with 11 cases of clots in 463 people prescribed intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC), the standard treatment for preventing them.

Dr Natarajan said: “Around 30pc of patients cannot go on an IPC pump, which puts pressure on calf muscles.

“They can’t use this standard treatment for a variety of reasons, such as having leg ulcers, broken skin or fluid in the leg.

“A lot of people also find that a sleeve pumping pressure down their leg means they can’t sleep.

“The geko gets round these problems. It’s like a half wristwatch which fits round the outside of the knee.”

(Henry Bodkin © Daily Telegraph, London)

Cost – expect to pay up to GB£200/US$280

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