A new device which could reduce the risk of blood clots in stroke patients is in trials at its first location in the UK.
The geko device is being trialled at the The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, which will investigate its potential to reduce clotting risk among survivors who are now less mobile after their stroke.
The geko device is similar to a watch strap and is fitted to a patient’s leg below the knee. It uses a small electrical pulse to stimulate a nerve in the leg, which causes muscle contraction and increases blood flow in the leg.
The RUH is the first research centre in the country to trial the geko, and the trial is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
Hayley Stoney, RUH stroke research nurse, said: “We’re really proud to be the first centre in the country to be leading on such an important study.
“People who have had a stroke will often have reduced mobility as a result and this can increase the risk of them getting potentially fatal blood clots in their legs.
“We want to assess if the geko device is suitable for our stroke patients and, if it is, whether it could reduce their chances of getting blood clots.”
Patients are eligible to take part in the study if they have had a stroke within 36 hours of symptoms beginning.
All patients involved in the study will have a compression Doppler ultrasound of both legs at day seven and fourteen, to detect if they have any asymptomatic blood clots.
The trial marks the latest research study taking place at RUH in the field of stroke, with others including:
- The Predicting Language Outcome and Recovery After Stroke (PLORAS) study, run by University College London (UCL), which aims to help clinicians predict how soon after a stroke a patient might be able to recover their speech and language ability. The study looks at scans of stroke patients’ brains to identify which area of the brain has been affected and, alongside patient questionnaires, aims to more accurately predict when patients may be able to speak again.
- The PhEAST study aims to help stroke patients who are unable to swallow food and drink to re-train their brain so that they can swallow independently again. The study uses special nasal gastric tubes, which are used to feed patients, fitted with tiny electrodes. The electrodes are used to deliver short bursts of current directly to the muscles and nerves that are used for swallowing. It is hoped that by stimulating these nerves, the electric current will help to re-programme the swallowing centres in the brain.
Anyone interested in helping with the PLORAS study can contact the team on ruh‑email@example.com or call 01225 824120.
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