Navigation Links
Baby's life saved with groundbreaking 3D printed device from U-M that restored his breathing

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every day, their baby stopped breathing, his collapsed bronchus blocking the crucial flow of air to his lungs. April and Bryan Gionfriddo watched helplessly, just praying that somehow the dire predictions weren't true.

"Quite a few doctors said he had a good chance of not leaving the hospital alive," says April Gionfriddo , about her now 20-month-old son, Kaiba. "At that point, we were desperate. Anything that would work, we would take it and run with it."

They found hope at the University of Michigan, where a new, bioresorbable device that could help Kaiba was under development.  Kaiba's doctors contacted Glenn Green , M.D., associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan.

Green and his colleague, Scott Hollister , Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and associate professor of surgery at U-M, went right into action, obtaining emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to create and implant a tracheal splint for Kaiba made from a biopolymer called polycaprolactone.

On February 9, 2012, the specially-designed splint was placed in Kaiba at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. The splint was sewn around Kaiba's airway to expand the bronchus and give it a skeleton to aid proper growth. Over about three years, the splint will be reabsorbed by the body. The case is featured today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"It was amazing. As soon as the splint was put in, the lungs started going up and down for the first time and we knew he was going to be OK," says Green.

Green and Hollister were able to make the custom-designed, custom-fabricated device using high-resolution imaging and computer-aided design. The device was created directly from a CT scan of Kaiba's trachea/bronchus, integrating an image-based computer model with laser-based 3D printing to produce the splint.

"Our vision at the University of Michigan Health System is to create the future of health care through discovery. This collaboration between faculty in our Medical School and College of Engineering is an incredible demonstration of how we achieve that vision, translating research into treatments for our patients," says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz , M.D., U-M executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the U-M Health System.

"Groundbreaking discoveries that save lives of individuals across the nation and world are happening right here in Ann Arbor. I continue to be inspired and proud of the extraordinary people and the amazing work happening across the Health System."

Kaiba was off ventilator support 21 days after the procedure, and has not had breathing trouble since then.

"The material we used is a nice choice for this. It takes about two to three years for the trachea to remodel and grow into a healthy state, and that's about how long this material will take to dissolve into the body," says Hollister.

"Kaiba's case is definitely the highlight of my career so far. To actually build something that a surgeon can use to save a person's life? It's a tremendous feeling."

The image-based design and 3D biomaterial printing process can be adapted to build and reconstruct a number of tissue structures.  Green and Hollister have already utilized the process to build and test patient specific ear and nose structures in pre-clinical models.  In addition, the method has been used by Hollister with collaborators to rebuild bone structures (spine, craniofacial and long bone) in pre-clinical models.

Severe tracheobronchomalacia is rare. About 1 in 2,200 babies are born with tracheomalacia and most children grow out of it by age 2 or 3, although it often is misdiagnosed as asthma that doesn't respond to treatment.

Severe cases, like Kaiba's, are about 10 percent of that number. And they are frightening, says Green. A normal cold can cause a baby to stop breathing. In Kaiba's case, the family was out at a restaurant when he was six weeks old and he turned blue.

"Severe tracheobronchomalacia has been a condition that has bothered me for years," says Green. "I've seen children die from it. To see this device work, it's a major accomplishment and offers hope for these children."

Before the device was placed, Kaiba continued to stop breathing on a regular basis and required resuscitation daily.

"Even with the best treatments available, he continued to have these episodes. He was imminently going to die. The physician treating him in Ohio knew there was no other option, other than our device in development here," Green says.

Kaiba is doing well and he and his family, including an older brother and sister, live in Ohio.

"He has not had another episode of turning blue," says April. "We are so thankful that something could be done for him. It means the world to us."

The University of Michigan is becoming a leader in pediatric device manufacturing, as is the case with the manufacturing process device used to save this baby's life. The FDA-funded University of Michigan Pediatric Device Consortium (M-PED) offers product development guidance and strategic support for advancing devices to market. In a new medical product manufacturing video released by M-PED, Green, Hollister and other U-M and industry experts share their experiences and advice:

Journal reference: DOI: 10.1056/1 NEJMc1206319

Additional authors: Of the University of Michigan: David A. Zopf , M.D., Richard G. Ohye , M.D. Of Akron Children's Hospital: Marc E. Nelson , M.D.

About C.S. Mott Children's Hospital: Since 1903, the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital has led the way in providing comprehensive, specialized health care for children. From leading-edge heart surgery that's performed in the womb to complete emergency care that's there when you need it, families from all over come to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital for our pediatric expertise. In 2013, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital was ranked eighth in the nation in Parents Magazine's 10 Best Children's Hospitals ranking. To learn more, go to

SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. NACo Prescription Discount Card Program Has Saved Americans More than $500 Million on Prescription Drugs
2. Medicaid Managed Care Drug Rebates Saved States, Feds $1.6 Billion in First Year
3. PCMA: New Study Finds Generic Medications Saved $1 Trillion Over the Last Decade
4. New Study Finds Use of Generic Prescription Drugs Saved Consumers and the U.S. Health Care System $1 Trillion over Past Decade
5. Thousands Of Cats With Kidney Disease Sought For Groundbreaking Clinical Trial
6. Premier Cancer Centers Dallas opens up a new world of groundbreaking and life-saving technology
7. Mayor Greg Ballard to Join Roche Diagnostics Leaders at Groundbreaking of New Learning and Development Center
8. Richard Wolf Medical Instruments introduces groundbreaking 5514 Endocam Performance HD
9. San Diego Based Neurosurgeon Offers Groundbreaking Treatment to Restore Function for People Suffering from Mobility Inhibiting Paralysis
10. Printed and Flexible Sensors Market Growth Accelerating
11. NanoMarkets Releases New Report on Thin-Film and Printed Batteries
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... Fla. , Oct. 13, 2015   Vigilant ... of solutions that aid in the early detection and ... has awarded Vigilant,s founder and CEO, Matthew H.J. ... Year Award, which recognizes an entrepreneur who has made ... life sciences industry in the leadership of ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE:  WX), a ... serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, ... version of OncoWuXi, the first App in the ... and data on the go.  The OncoWuXi App ... to identify relevant tumor models for use in ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015   Happy Vitals ®, ... home testing kit for breast milk.  The ... an unparalleled, detailed assessment of the nutrition ... carbs and key vitamins—all charted over time ... health tracking.  In addition, Happy Vitals also offers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Dr. Poneh Ghasri, dentist in West Hollywood ... 2015. The research, which was conducted at the Dental Institute at King's College London ... between stress during pregnancy and future dental health in the child. For years, researchers ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Protein is essential to good health. ... bone, and blood. But how much protein does the average man need in order ... according to the October 2015 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch . Most ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Waycross, GA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... charitable nonprofit promoting the establishment of telemedicine programs in communities throughout Georgia, along ... (FTP) announce the collective schedule for their regional telehealth summits for Fall 2015. ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... According to an ESPN report published on ... teammate accidentally elbowed him in the left eye during the first day of practice ... of a series of setbacks, including a knee injury that has interfered with his ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... In an ongoing effort ... , a Southlake, Texas, child development and pediatric therapy center, is working with ... families about their options for receiving this kind of care for affected children. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):