By: 19 January 2018
Geko medical device makes breakthrough in pre-operative oedema reduction

Clinical study reveals substantial cost and efficiency savings achieved with gekoTM device

Promotional feature

UK-based medical devices developer, Firstkind, a Sky Medical Technology company, has announced that its NICE recommended medical device, geko, has been clinically proven to reduce pre-operative oedema in ankle fracture patients, saving two patient bed days per patient on average when compared to all other methods. By reducing time to theatre-readiness in this way, the use of geko generates an average saving of £569 per patient.

Pre-operative oedema can often delay surgical fixation for ankle fracture patients due to risks associated with operating on swollen tissue. The current standards of care for managing readiness for theatre include leg elevation in combination with a backslab plaster cast. A study recently completed by researchers at the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, has shown an average reduction in
pre-operative bed days from 3.66 to just 1.66 days per patient, when fitting geko above the backslab plaster cast, meaning operations can be carried out sooner.

Paul Baker, orthopaedic consultant and clinical lead of the research team, said: “We saw the potential for the geko device to significantly improve current care pathways for our surgically treated ankle fractures. The prospective and retrospective study, completed in partnership with Sky Medical Technology, shows the geko device can be used safely and effectively in this patient population and can help to streamline care.”

Associated benefits for geko include accelerated readiness for theatre, improvements to patient wellbeing, improved theatre time scheduling and accelerated recovery as rehabilitation can begin sooner.

Bernard Ross, CEO of Firstkind and its parent company Sky Medical Technology, commented: “Preventing further delays to surgery and reducing waiting lists is currently high on the agenda for the NHS following recent reports that the estimated number of people waiting for operations in June exceeded four million, the highest figure in a decade. Pre-operative oedema management improves efficiencies for surgeons by enabling more patients to remain theatre-ready while waiting for a slot in the theatre schedule.”

The geko device, utilising Firstkind’s proprietary neuromuscular electrostimulation technology, OnPulse®, gently stimulates the common peroneal nerve activating the calf and foot muscle pumps, resulting in increased blood flow in the deep veins of the calf, and the reduction of oedema. The increase in blood flow is equal to 60 per cent of walking without the patient needing to move, and it is for this anti-stasis capability that the NHS use the geko device to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and in particular in high-risk stroke patients. This latest research clinically proves the geko device reduces pre-operative oedema in ankle fracture patients.

A 2016 study by Professor Andrew Nicolaides and Dr Maura Griffin measured the effect of the geko device on blood flow in the deep veins of the calf. The results demonstrated significant volume and velocity increases within the gastrocnemius, peroneal and posterior tibial veins. This was the first time that a mechanical device had reported enhancement to blood flow in the deep veins.

Bernard Ross said: “Not only is patient wellbeing improved by a shorter time-to-surgery, but successful oedema management may have a role in improved post-operative wound closure and reduced surgical site infection, enabling clinicians to safely discharge patients sooner following surgery.

“While the geko device has already achieved NICE guidance and FDA clearance for reducing the risk of DVT, this new study provides further evidence that our platform technology, OnPulse™, has the potential to serve a wide range of clinical applications and to make substantial cost and efficiency savings for healthcare providers.”

Weighing just 10g, silent in operation and with no wires or leads, the battery powered geko is a daily disposable device that is self-adhesive, and light and comfortable to wear.

Sky Medical Technology is currently working collaboratively with the NHS in ten clinical pathways within 25 UK hospitals. The geko device is now in ‘routine use’ by the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, and further oedema control studies are underway.

For more information, visit: