Wearable technology increases blood flow to the legs

Editors note: The article was featured in Calcalist (Hebrew)

A problem affecting the quality of life of millions of patients worldwide

Vein failure (CVI) or lymphatic disease is caused by valve dysfunction or damage to the blood vessel or lymph. As a result, fluid accumulates in the lower limbs, causing edema and pain. Today, more than 14 million people in the Western world suffer from poor blood flow to their legs.

Pressure socks, the standard treatment in this field, have limited efficacy and over 60% of patients do not wear them at all. This is because they are too tight and difficult to put on and remove, especially for the elderly population, those who are overweight and those suffering from arthritis.

An alternative, and far more expensive solution to pressure socks, is pneumatic pressure devices. These devices use an inflatable sleeve that massages the patient’s leg and mimics the contracting and relaxing movement of the calf muscle. However, these sleeves are cumbersome and require a direct connection to loud air compressors, which limit patients’ mobility and are uncomfortable.

The Israeli company ElastiMed has developed a solution that is expected to provide an alternative to the current options.

Innovative development based on artificial muscle technology

ElastiMed has developed a wearable medical product, based on smart materials technology. The battery-powered device is worn on the calf and consistently massages the leg throughout the day, without compromising the patient’s routine.

The effectiveness of the device was demonstrated during a successful preliminary clinical trial that showed similar findings to those obtained from pneumatic pressure devices.

A groundbreaking solution that caters to the professional sports industry

The device is also designed to be used in a wide range of additional areas, such as reducing the recovery time required after training or sports injury or to prevent swelling after prolonged sitting (long flights or office duration). The product can also be used to treat chronic wounds and help prevent blood clots from forming. ElastiMed’s device can be adapted to treat the entire leg or the arms, as well as treat various types of issues resulting from poor blood flow.

Revolutionary technology that shuffles the cards

ElastiMed’s technology is based on the use of smart materials called artificial “muscles”. These materials are based on polymers that change shape when stimulated by an electrical field. Thus, by using three or four parallel smart strips and gradually activating them, the patient’s leg is compressed and relaxed allowing for increased circulation of the blood and lymphatic systems. Future developments are expected to include Bluetooth connectivity to allow for personalized care whereby patients are more involved and control their therapy; Big Data analysis to optimize and improve overall care, and the possibility of remote monitoring of the patient’s limb by clinicians.

Read the full article in Hebrew.