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February 26, 2013
London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) continues its tradition of innovation as it is the first in North America to use a new blood circulation device and first in the world to use the device in cardiac surgery.
Since December, Dr. Bob Kiaii, cardiac surgeon, and the rest of the cardiac team at LHSC, has been treating patients recovering from heart surgery with the new blood circulation device, named geko™, to help manage swelling resulting from excess fluids following cardiac surgery, a condition known as post-operative edema.
Dr. Bob Kiaii, cardiac surgeon, LHSC, applies the geko™ to Dennis Findlay's leg. Findlay was the first patient to use the geko™ as part of his treatment following a triple-bypass surgery.
“The device offers patients a drug-free treatment option for a common condition following cardiac surgery and simplifies current strategies to eliminate excess fluids,” says Dr. Kiaii. “This is important because excess fluids impede oxygen delivery and wound healing, compromise pulmonary function, and delay resumption of bowel function.”
The size of a wrist-watch and worn behind the knee, the self-contained geko™ device is designed to increase blood flow by activating the muscle pumps in the lower leg that return blood to the heart, emulating the blood flow rate normally achieved by walking (up to 70 per cent), without the patient having to move or exert energy. Patients can apply the battery powered device themselves and have the control to turn it off or on.
“Dr. Kiaii and his team continue to build upon London Health Sciences Centre’s legacy of innovation,” says Bonnie Adamson, President and CEO, LHSC. “This is another example of LHSC utilizing advanced technologies to improve outcomes for the patients we serve.”
Dennis Findlay of London, Ontario was the first patient offered the new treatment by Dr. Kiaii immediately after his triple-bypass surgery in December. “I wore it every day while I was in hospital. It was painless and barely noticeable and I’m grateful it helped my recovery,” describes Findlay.
Approximately 60 patients at LHSC have benefited from the device as part of their treatment plan. “Early observational use of the geko™ device has shown promise and we are planning to conduct a controlled trial to further investigate its health benefits,” continues Dr. Kiaii.
Bernard Ross, CEO Firstkind Ltd, device manufacturer, said “Precise management of fluids and electrolytes is a fundamental part of a patient's overall surgical treatment. Through the unique differential of superior blood flow, we believe the geko™ device is well placed to deliver simplicity of patient care, enhanced patient mobility, better patient outcomes and substantial cost savings for health services globally through a reduced length of patient stay.”