Tech Blog: UA College of Nursing “Bed-Sled” Prevents Muscle Deconditioning & Deep Vein Thrombosis from Almost Anywhere

Oct. 24, 2017

Listen to the fifth episode of our podcast, Invented Arizona, where we speak with Laura McRee about her resistance training device, the Bed-Sled.

During a period of extended bed rest and/or limited mobility, a person’s muscle strength can decrease between three and eleven percent. In fact, rapid reduction in muscle mass and bone mineral density occurs in the first week alone; research has demonstrated such decreases beginning after only four hours of immobility. This is common in post-surgical patients, the elderly and even those traveling long distances. Worst of all, extended bed rest and limited mobility can result in venous stasis (the slowing of the blood) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If untreated or unnoticed, venous stasis and DVT can lead to a pulmonary embolism (PE), which causes 60,000-100,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Existing treatments for venous stasis and DVT include anti-coagulant medications, which pose potentially serious side effects and are quite costly, and sequential compression devices.

Patients must also consider the heavy cost of physical rehabilitation.

Monica Kraft, MD

Learn more about Laura McRee.

In her twenty years as a UA faculty member, College of Nursing professor Laura McRee, DNP, ACNP-BC LMT, RNFA, has focused much of her research on prevention of such conditions, noting that the “devastation of having to get rehabilitation or medication treatment for any condition that results in deconditioned muscles or the developing of a blood clot is huge.”

Knowing that movement and resistance exercise can prevent muscle deconditioning and venous stasis, McRee developed a resistance-training device that encourages active movement of the lower legs. This portable footpad, known as the Bed-Sled, is designed to strengthen the lower extremities, prevent muscle deconditioning and overall weakness, and mitigate the development of conditions like DVT.

The Bed-Sled is equipped with a sensor to record the amount of pressure applied and the number of depressions of the footpad to track an individual’s progress. With a full-scale prototype close to completion, the design is simple, cost-effective, non-invasive and minimally strenuous.

McRee is confident that the Bed-Sled will not only be available for use in hospitals, physical therapy and rehabilitation, but also for the average consumer to use in their home or during long-distance travel. In an effort to dive deeper into her customer base, Laura has joined the current NSF I-Corps cohort at TLA, a six-week course that provides inventors with the expertise and funding to expand their understanding of their technology’s potential commercial impact and target customers.

To learn more about this technology, visit:

UA16-094 Bed-Sled

Listen and Learn: Listen to Episode 5(link is external) of the Invented Arizona podcast, featuring this technology!

To learn more about other related technologies available from the University of Arizona, visit:

UA14-105 Method for Detecting Iron-Specific Hypercoagulation

UA15-160 New Therapy to Prevent Venom Induced Coagulopathy

Paul Tumarkin