Dialog Box

PA innovation will save lives

They are small enough to be attached to your keys via a key ring and have the potential to save thousands of lives, and they are called ‘Stop It’.

The ‘Stop It’ device allows dialysis patients to halt blood loss if their fistula bleeds whilst at home, while also allowing them to call for help from a loved one or an ambulance.

Fistulas are the access sites required for kidney patients to undergo dialysis and if they are damaged or do not heal properly, they can result in significant blood loss, which can cause premature death.

Made of molded silicon, the Stop It is brainchild of vascular access nurse and PA Hospital renal department staff member Lisa Gordon.

“A fistula is where a vein and an artery are joined together, it’s done because arterial blood is high pressure fast flowing and veins are low pressure slow flowing,” Lisa said.

“Because we have to stick two needles into somebody’s arm three times a week, a normal vein wouldn’t tolerate that, so they have to make the vein think it is a thicker walled vessel and the only way to do that is to join the fast-flowing arterial blood onto the vein.

“If they have areas where they needle a lot for their dialysis, they become very thin walled, and it is very high risk for bleeding if there is any accidental trauma to these areas and you can bleed to death quite quickly from them because of the fast-flowing blood.

Small in stature but not in impact - the Stop It! device.

“A lot of the time people bleed at home. We do give our patients a pack with gauze and band aids and things in it, but they can’t have that handy on them all the time.

“What’s great about the Stop It is if they’re in the car and it bleeds the Stop It is on their keys, and they can just pull over and place the STOP IT on the site that is bleeding and still call an ambulance if needed. There is no need to waste time hunting for tissues or their gauze pack it could potentially save their lives.”

The Stop It is modeled on a similar device Lisa saw in use while working caring for dialysis patient in the United Kingdom (UK). Knowing their power to save lives from her UK experience she was determined to create something similar for her patients here, with Lisa and her colleagues viewing the devices as an extension of their care as dialysis and vascular access nurses.

After consulting with the head of PA Hospital’s Nephrology Department Professor David Johnson about how to fund the design and creation of the Stop It, the initial order of 1000 were made possible through the department’s relationship with the PA Research Foundation. 

In total it took Lisa more than 18 months of work behind the scenes while also doing her regular job to make them a reality.

“I looked at getting them in from the UK initially but the costs of importing them were not beneficial, so we had our own mold made up here locally,” she said.

Lisa Gordon (right) with two of her renal department colleagues displaying how the Stop It! works.

“It is between a 10 cent and 5 cent pieces in size, it’s an injection molded cap which looks like a bottle top. “It’s an extension of our care that the patients can take home with them.

The name concept was purposeful - if a patient calls to say they are bleeding we can advise them to use their red STOP IT.

Lisa said she evaluated the concept with a patient with a troublesome fistula and is confident they will be hugely popular with her patients and dialysis patients more widely as there is nothing like them available in Australia or New Zealand.

“Because fistulas are not all the same, some of them are big and bulky and arms are all different, we needed to be able feel that people could just place their thumb or hand on the Stop It, hold it in place safely and be able to call an ambulance or somebody to help them,” Lisa said.

“It creates a vacuum over it, the surface area in it causes a bit of suction but it’s not going to harm the fistula in any way, it’s just the fact that it cuts off the oxygen. Once it is clotted under there it shouldn’t bleed anymore and they just easily move their hand and call an ambulance, that is the beauty of it.

Make the PA Foundation your place to give to help kidney disease and dialysis patients here.

21 October 2022
Category: News
Tags: #Dialysis, #Fistula, #Kidneydisease,