Further explanation surfaces on why the virus is more severe than other viral infections
- Clinicians and medical organizations around the world report blood clotting as probably the most challenging issues to emerge around COVID-19(1) paralleled to cases of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and Swine Flu(2)
- All COVID-19 patients are at risk of VTE due to coagulopathies (excessive clotting), comorbidities, age, and extended immobility with a majority also at risk for bleeding
- Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 should receive LMWH for blood clot prevention. Patients contraindicated for drug therapies such as those that have an unacceptable risk for bleeding should be prescribed mechanical prophylaxis(3)
Today Sky Medical Technology Ltd, a UK-based medical device company, specializing in the prevention of Venous thromboembolism (VTE or blood clots) highlights a publication on May 5th, 2020 in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis showing the incidence of venous thromboembolism in 198 hospitalized COVID-19 patients(4). The overall rate was 42% at 21 days including patients in the ICU and the general medical ward.
With VTE recognized 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 influenza2 (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 minimize the risk of bleeding with or without drug prophylaxis.
Sky Medical Technology’s 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 labor-intensive than IPC devices on patients with fragile skin or cardiovascular-related contraindications.
The geko™ device is seeing increased demand from clinicians in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to reduce the risk of blood clots in high-risk COVID-19 patients. The device has been in use in the United Kingdom 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 & 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 sterilization 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.”
- Tucker A, Maass A, Bain D, Chen LH, Azzam M, Dawson H, et al. Augmentation of venous, arterial and microvascular blood supply in the leg by isometric neuromuscular stimulation via the peroneal nerve. The International journal of angiology: official publication of the International College of Angiology, Inc. 2010 Spring; 19(1): e317:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2949997/
Williams J, et al. The use of the geko™ device and the activation of the foot and calf pumps for prevention of venous thromboembolism in patients with acute stroke. Data on file 2020. Abstract: https://www.gekodevices.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Effect-of-the-introduction-of-a-new-pathway-for-prevention-of-venous-thromboembolism-VTE-including-neuromuscular-electrical-stimulation-NMES-on-symptomatic-VTE-in-immobile-stroke-patients.pdf