NICE guidance has approved a device for NHS use which could help reduce the risk of blood clots forming in a deep vein of the legs.
The NICE guidance supports the geko device being used in people who have a high risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), where standard methods of preventing blood clots aren’t suitable or can’t be used.
Some patients at high risk of VTE also have conditions such as peripheral arterial disease or dermatitis, which means that are not able to use anti-embolism stockings which are commonly given to prevent blood clots. The geko device provides an option for patients where drugs to prevent clots can’t be used which is likely to reduce the high risk of VTE.
It is estimated that the device will represent a saving of around £200 per patient compared with no preventative treatment.
The geko device is a disposable, battery-powered device similar in size and appearance to a small watch, which is fixed to the back of the knee joint by adhesive. The device creates electrical impulses to stimulate a nerve in the leg, causing muscles to contract and so increasing the blood flow in the veins. This imitates the changes in blood flow normally achieved by walking, but works when the person is not moving.
Professor Carole Longson, Director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “This guidance is good news for patients at high risk of deep vein blood clots in the leg who can’t use standard prevention methods. The Medical Technologies Advisory Committee decided that although the clinical evidence is limited, it was plausible that the geko device may reduce the high risk of VTE in patients who can’t use other forms of blood clot prevention.
“This guidance encourages the NHS to consider using the geko device for patients at high VTE risk where other methods of risk reduction aren’t suitable.”