MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A life-saving device smaller than a pea is giving premature newborns a better chance at a normal life.
The newly FDA-approved device gives doctors a minimally invasive option to repair holes found in a premature baby’s heart. It is a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus or PDA.
“In the past we did not have a good option of how to close this PDA," said Dr. Shyam Sathanandam. “Different options include doing an open heart surgery. However, an open heart surgery in a very small infant is not well tolerated.”
The device, called Amplatzer Piccolo™ Occluder, was used for the first time, post FDA-approval, by Sathanandam at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. A 2-pound, 2-week-old baby girl, weighing 2.2 pounds, is recovering after the surgery last week.
“The child has come off the ventilator already and is able to breathe by herself,” said Sathanandam.
During a 20-minute procedure, the wire, mesh device is implanted into a child’s heart through a catheter that is inserted into the child’s leg. The technique involves no cutting or stitching, which allows for quicker recovery.
The hope is this device will give more children a better quality of life.
“We hope that by taking care of the PDA so early on in life that will give them opportunity to have a normal life,” said Sathanandam. “Obviously the heart is a very important organ and taking care of that is very helpful.”
Approximately 60,000 premature babies in the U.S. are born each year with a very low birth weight. One out of five of these babies have a significant PDA, which will require urgent treatment for the baby to survive.