New mHealth Device May Help Patients Avoid DVT
An innovative mobile medical device could help patients prevent deep vein thrombosis.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious medical condition which, if left untreated, could possibly endanger a person’s life. DVT arises due to a host of factors, but it is primarily caused from prolonged inactivity, which can lead to blood clots forming in the veins of the leg.
DVT can come on suddenly, and an individual may notice pain or cramping in the leg at first. The leg may also feel warm to the touch and have a reddish color in the affected area. These are symptoms of a blood clot, which, if it moves to the lungs, may cause a pulmonary embolism. Signs of a pulmonary embolism include chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and a rapid pulse rate. Anytime those symptoms appear, the patient should seek immediate emergency medical care.
Considering DVT could potentially strike some 900,000 people each year in the U.S., any technological developments that can ward off the condition could potentially save countless lives and reduce treatment costs. Fortunately, medical researchers are working on such solutions. One of the most promising? A new mobile health (mHealth) device that promises to help patients bedridden after joint replacement surgery prevent DVT.
$1.8M Grant Funds New mHealth Device
Recently, the National Institutes of Health awarded $1.8 million to Recovery Force, an Indiana-based company specializing in mobile medical solutions, to continue development of its Mobile Active Compressions™ (MAC) calf device. The device will be tested at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and Eskenazi Health, an Indiana University School of Medicine partner.
Currently, tools to prevent DVT are large, bulky instruments that are attached to cords, pumps, and wires, making them uncomfortable for patients. To work, these devices must be hooked into an electrical source, thereby severely hindering a person’s mobility.
Meanwhile, the lightweight MAC sleeve wraps around the limb and is completely portable. Patients can enjoy full mobility while wearing the MAC device, which is wireless and can be recharged.
During the testing phase, only patients recovering from a total joint replacement will be fitted with the MAC device to protect against DVT. However, if the trial proves successful, the device could be used for any patient at risk of DVT. Recovery Force anticipates the MAC tool will be available commercially in hospitals and for at-home patients by early 2020.
Preventing DVT Now
According to the CDC, about a third of people who have had DVT will suffer another incident within 10 years; similarly, patients with varicose veins face five times the risk of developing DVT when compared to the general population. While mHealth devices like the one being developed offer hope to those at great risk of DVT, the instrument is not yet on the market.
Therefore, patients with varicose veins or other risk factors must take measures to mitigate their risk. Simple lifestyle changes can help, including:
Staying Hydrated. Drinking water promotes healthy blood flow, which prevents blood from pooling and forming dangerous clots.
Never Sitting for Too Long. Sometimes it’s necessary to go on a long trip in a car or plane. When you do, make sure to move around or flex your calf muscles frequently to keep the blood in the leg veins pumping.
Wearing Compression Stockings. These super-elastic garments compress the veins in the leg so the blood is forced to flow upward to the heart. They can be purchased in a drugstore or medical supply store. If you need a stronger compression factor than what is found in stores, you’ll need a doctor’s prescription.
In addition, it may be wise to consider treatment if you have varicose veins. The physicians at the Center for Vein Restoration specialize in a number of simple surgical procedures that can do away with varicose veins once and for all, significantly reducing your risk of developing DVT. In addition, calling our DVT hotline at 877-SCAN-DVT can help quickly determine whether or not you have DVT, saving you a time-consuming and costly trip to the emergency room. While new mHealth devices may be on the horizon in a few years, for patients with varicose veins, the time to act is now. Contact the office today for a consultation.