Bioresorbable splints used for just second time ever, successfully improved breathing so baby can go home for the first time
In his 18 months of life, Garrett Peterson has never gone home, spending his days in hospital beds tethered to ventilators that even at the highest settings couldn’t prevent his breathing from periodically stopping.
His condition was so tenuous that often his parents could not hold him for fear of compromising his breathing. But after surgeons at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital implanted 3D printed devices to open up Garrett’s airways, his parents are now planning to take their son home to their house in Utah for the very first time.
Garrett is just the second person whose life was saved with a new, bioresorbable device developed at the University of Michigan by Glenn Green, M.D., associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology and Scott Hollister, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and associate professor of surgery at U-M.
Garrett has a condition called tetralogy of Fallot with absent pulmonary valve, which can put tremendous pressure on the airways. In Garrett’s case, he developed severe tracheobronchomalacia, or softening of his trachea and bronchi, and his
airways collapsed to the point that they were reduced to just small slits.
The Petersons spent months watching their child stop breathing and turn blue sometimes four to five times a day – forcing medical personnel to resuscitate him with heavy medication or other interventions.
Garrett needed to be on a ventilator at pressure levels that had reached the maximum, and he was not improving. He was often on strong medication and even had been put into a medically-induced coma because he would work against the ventilator if he was awake.
“It’s really hard to watch your child basically suffocate and pass out before you could revive him and bring him back, over and over,” says Jake Peterson, Garrett’s father.
“Nothing would stop him from turning blue. Just lifting his legs for diaper change would collapse his airways and that was it. There was nothing we could do to help him,” says Natalie Peterson, Garrett’s mother.
The Petersons had read an article in May 2013 about the first baby saved by Hollister and Green’s device and believed Garrett’s case might be similar. That baby just celebrated his second birthday and continues to be free of all symptoms related to his tracheobronchomalacia .
The Petersons contacted Green at U-M.
“We thought this could be Garrett’s chance of not only getting home but also getting off a ventilator,” Natalie Peterson says.
The Latest on: 3D printed devices
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