How 3D Printed Devices Are Revolutionizing Treatment for Infants with Airway Disease

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Doctors in Atlanta are using 3D printed devices to help infants with airway diseases breathe independently. A team from Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have developed a custom 3D printed tracheal splint for Justice Altidor, a young patient with pediatric tracheomalacia.

The device is made from bioabsorbable material, designed to dissolve as her airway strengthens. Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Kevin Maher and pediatric otolaryngologist Dr. Steven Goudy reviewed Justice’s case and received FDA permission to implant the device in October 2020. This intervention allows Justice to breathe freely without a ventilator.

Tracheal splints are customized for each patient, particularly those with life-threatening pediatric tracheomalacia, a condition where the windpipe is weak and collapses during breathing, leading to respiratory distress and prolonged ventilator dependence.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is among the few U.S. centers using 3D printing for ventilator-dependent patients, with Georgia Tech being the only place capable of custom printing these tracheal splints. Currently, four patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have received these 3D printed airway support devices.

Source: gpb.org

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