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Trialling geko™ device in COVID-19 patients

The geko™ device
The geko™ device (images courtesy of geko™)

A Wales-built wearable medical device designed to reduce the risk of blood clots is being assessed to see whether it could be used to treat immobile patients with COVID-19 symptoms.

geko™ provides painless neuromuscular electrostimulation to the lower leg. Its ability to increase blood circulation in immobile patients with the virus is being evaluated as part of a nine-month Accelerate project.

A partnership led by Cardiff University’s Clinical Innovation Accelerator with Gwalia Healthcare, Sky Medical Technology and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has accessed Accelerate support to evaluate geko’s effectiveness in a project designed to enhance the device manufacturer’s capabilities, resilience and sustainability within Wales.

Venous thromboembolic diseases (VTE) are caused by a thrombus (blood clot) occurring in a vein. Patients are assessed for their VTE risk when they enter a hospital. High-risk patients and/or those who will be immobile for long periods of time are managed by prophylactic treatment.

COVID-19 is a highly thrombotic syndrome that leads to both micro and macrothrombosis and resultant multi-site embolism.

Traditional anticoagulant therapy to reduce clots has, in some patients, resulted in severe bleeding. The partnership was forged to explore other options to support the management of VTE in this patient population.

geko™ is manufactured in Wales for the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE), as well as the prevention and treatment of oedema.

Cardiff University is providing academic expertise in manufacturing automation and supply chain resilience, dedicated project management and the support of nurse time to administer the device and collect data.

"Meeting the grand challenges that COVID-19 poses to the clinical interventions required in supporting patients and in the delivery of the devices to aid clinicians requires a multidisciplinary, practice-academic endeavour. We are delighted to be working as a team with colleagues from Gwalia Healthcare, Sky Medical, AB UHB, School of Medicine, Cardiff Business School, and the School of Engineering."

The project team

Accelerate is supporting the project with the intention that it will underpin a larger body of future work as the pandemic abates.

The evaluation will help experts assess the clinical pathway for the management of COVID patients in the AB UHB and bring other benefits including:

  • improved supplier assessment and procurement process with a focus on a developing a resilient and sustainable Welsh supplier base
  • iterations to the automated manufacturing process for the geko™
  • case studies and peer-reviewed publications
  • seeding of future work
  • opportunities to explore the geko™ device use in specific patient cohorts across Wales
  • opportunities for further collaboration between project partners
  • a definitively powered randomised controlled clinical trial

Read the published case study

geko™ device product evaluation and Welsh supply chain logistics

A case study to undertake a clinical product evaluation of the geko™ device in patients with symptoms of COVID-19.