Medical device startup FlexSpark aims to reduce blood clots in hospital patients

Founded by four biomedical engineers, medical device startup FlexSpark is reducing hospital deaths caused by pulmonary embolism as a result of deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in the legs, which can often happen to elderly or bedridden hospital patients. FlexSpark’s device is an alternative to the current DVT solution, which is bulky and tethers patients to the bed. Notably, FlexSpark’s device also uses electrodes to induce leg muscles to contract, rather than simply squeezing on the legs. “Neither nurses or patients like the current device. As a result, many people don’t use it and they get DVTs. What we’re trying to do is create a device patients like wearing. Currently, about 1 in 15 hospitalized patients will die because of a blood clot they get in a hospital,” COO Michael Ollukaren said. 
 FlexSpark's device
FlexSpark is currently targeting hospitals that would use their device in an in-patient setting. They also plan on giving away their software for free, charging only for the device, in order to pass savings along to hospitals. While the device’s primary function is to prevent DVTs, it can also be used to reduce muscle atrophy. “When you’re hospitalized, after about 2 weeks of being bedridden you can’t even stand up anymore. Our device uses the muscles, so it reduces the rate of muscle deterioration. It costs hospitals about $700 per day to keep a patient. So if we could decrease patient stay, it would be huge savings,” Ollukaren said.
 
FlexSpark recently completed Memphis Bioworks’ Zero to 510 medical device accelerator, and received $50K in seed funding for doing so. The next milestones for FlexSpark include FDA clearance and benchmark testing the device. “We have to make sure it’s safe for the public, although we’ve tried it on ourselves and we’re all fine,” CIO Chidozie Ugwumadu said with a laugh.
 
Learn more about FlexSpark at their website

Read more articles by Emily Adams Keplinger.

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