A medical device to prevent deep vein thrombosis, developed by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, has won two awards at the Innovations in Cardiovascular Interventions (ICI) conference in Tel Aviv.
British company Sky Medical Ltd was awarded the ICI Innovation Awards ‘Best Business Start-Up Award’ and ‘Recognition of the Outstanding Innovative Ideas’ for 2012 for its geko™ device.
The geko™ is a wristwatch-sized device which fits to the back of the knee and stimulates blood flow in the legs – effectively mimicking the blood-flow rate normally seen when people are walking but when the patient is not mobile. It utilises OnPulseTM technology invented by Dr Art Tucker from the William Harvey Research Institute at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, part of Queen Mary and Dr Duncan Bain.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the legs, which if it detaches and travels to the lungs leads a potentially life-threatening complication known as pulmonary embolism, and when to the brain, as stroke. A number of factors increase the risk of DVT, including immobilisation, such as in patients after surgery or long-haul plane flights and DVT is widely considered to be largest cause of preventable deaths in healthcare.
Dr Tucker said: “With the support of Sky Medical Technology, we started to focus on this innovation about four years ago to prevent travel-related DVT . It all went from there and we continue to work on a very wide range of cardiovascular applications for the technology.”
Dr Bain, a consultant scientist, said: “Much of the blood supply in your legs is pumped, not by the heart, but by a system of muscles and valves in the leg. It occurred to us to use the body’s own mechanism to do the pumping, and accomplish this with a miniature, self-contained, self-adhesive, battery-powered stimulator, with no wires or separate electrodes.”
In awarding the prize, chairman of the judging panel, Professor Martin Rothman said that the geko™ was selected because of its simplicity, clear potential to have clinical impact and business opportunity.
Bernard Ross, CEO Sky Medical Technology Ltd said: “In the UK, there are more deaths per year from blood clots than from breast cancer, road traffic accidents and AIDS combined, and this inspired us to find a better solution than already existed. We are honoured to have won these prestigious Awards, judged by some of the world’s foremost experts in the field.”
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