Electrical stimulation devices for the prevention of venous thromboembolism: Preliminary studies of physiological efficacy and user satisfaction
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Authors: Badger, J., Taylor, P., Papworth, N. and Swain, I.
Journal: J Rehabil Assist Technol Eng
Introduction: Electrical stimulation could provide an alternative method for preventing venous thromboembolism in stroke patients. The purpose of this preliminary study was to explore the effects of electrical stimulation and intermittent pneumatic compression on enhancing lower limb venous return in healthy and chronic stroke patients and also to evaluate patient and nurse satisfaction. Methods: We investigated the effectiveness of two electrical stimulation devices: Geko (Firstkind Ltd, High Wycombe, UK) and Orthopaedic Microstim 2V2 (Odstock Medical Ltd, Salisbury, UK); and one intermittent pneumatic compression device: Huntleigh Flowstron Universal (Huntleigh Healthcare Ltd, Cardiff, UK). We recruited 12 healthy and 5 chronic stroke participants. The devices were fitted sequentially, and Doppler ultrasound measurements were taken. Eight patients and nurses were also recruited for a separate usability evaluation. Results: The electrical stimulation devices emulated the blood flow characteristics of intermittent pneumatic compression in both healthy and stroke participants provided that the intensity of electrical stimulation was sufficient. Patients and nurses also felt that the electrical stimulation devices were acceptable. Conclusions: Electrical stimulation may offer benefit as an alternative method for venous thromboembolism prevention in stroke patients. The apparent benefit is sufficient to warrant further investigation in a full powered randomised controlled trial.