New stroke tech scoops national award

Pictured: Dr Indira Natarajan, Consultant Stroke Physician and Clinical Director for Neurosciences

A unique device developed by University Hospitals of North Midlands and UK-based Sky Medical Technology (Sky), to help prevent stroke patients from developing life-threatening blood clots, has scooped the 'Best use of technology (acute care)' award at the national Building Better Healthcare Awards.

The ground-breaking geko™ device works to increase blood flow in the deep veins of the calf and thereby reduce the risk of patients developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). A study of 1,000 acute stroke patients found that no patients wearing the geko™ device developed VTE.

Dr Indira Natarajan, Consultant Stroke Physician, said: "Acute stroke patients are at a higher risk of developing VTE due to their reduced mobility and it is a major risk to hospitalised patients. About 40,000 people die every year in England from VTE and what's particularly sad is that 62% of these deaths are preventable, given proper management. The geko™ device marks a significant change to our nursing practice and provides an option where previously patients would have had no other intervention available to them. We are really thrilled to win this award and our thanks go to the Building Better Healthcare team and to Sky."

The geko™ device is the size of a wristwatch and worn at the knee. It works to gently stimulate the common peroneal nerve, activating the calf and foot muscle pumps and resulting in increased blood flow in the deep veins.

Over 27 NHS trusts are now actively working to include the geko™ device in their acute stroke care pathways.

Bernard Ross, CEO Sky Medical Technology, said: "We would like to thank the building better healthcare team for recognising and celebrating excellence in health technology and we owe our sincere thanks to the Royal Stoke team. Without their commitment, passion and willingness to embrace innovation, none of this would be possible."