Sky Medical Technology highlights a publication on 5 May 2020 in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis showing the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in 198 hospitalised COVID-19 patients. The overall rate was 42% at 21 days including patients in the ICU and the general medical ward.
With VTE recognised as a major contributor to COVID-19 multi-organ failure, anticoagulation is critical and drug prophylaxis is the primary intervention, especially for immobile patients on ventilators at risk of VTE in ICU. Similar increases in thrombotic risk were seen with H1N1m influenza (Swine Flu).
However, there are COVID-19 patients, at this same high risk of VTE, suffering from internal bleeding. For these patients, drug prophylaxis causes further bleeding. Clinicians therefore rely on mechanical prophylaxis for these patients—either using intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) or, more recently, the geko device to prevent VTE and minimise the risk of bleeding with or without drug prophylaxis.
According to a Sky Medical press release, the geko device represents an alternative to IPC devices during COVID-19. The geko device runs a much lower risk of virus cross contamination because it is a single-use device that is discarded after each patient use. The geko device is less labour intensive than IPC devices on patients with fragile skin or cardiovascular related contraindications.
The geko device is seeing increased demand from clinicians in the NHS to reduce the risk of blood clots in high risk COVID-19 patients. The device has been in use in the UK for three years in blood clot prevention of high-risk acute stroke patients and has sold over 700,000 individual device units to date.
Bernard Ross, founder and CEO at Sky Medical said, “We are now gearing-up globally to provide geko devices to support the prevention of high VTE risk and bleeding risk in critically ill COVID-19 patients, when drug or other mechanical compression methods of VTE prevention are contraindicated, impractical or inaccessible. The disposable, single use geko devices require no sterilisation or re-use between patients, taking just 60 seconds to fit. This requires less nurse-to-patient contact time and less viral load exposure.”
Ross concluded, “We are grateful to all healthcare providers around the world for what they are doing in extremely challenging circumstances, which are being further complicated by an abnormally high VTE risk and high bleed risk in immobile, critically ill C-19 patients. Production to provide an uninterrupted supply of geko devices to help prevent these life-threatening blood clots is scaling to meet demand. Continuity of supply is paramount.”