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Doctors Save Baby's Life With 3D Device


It’s any parents worst nightmare. At just six weeks old, April Gionfriddo’s son, Kaiba, stopped breathing and turned blue while their family was out to dinner.

“He spent 10 days in the hospital, came home, and two days later ended up turning blue again and stopped breathing on us.” said Gionfriddo. “Quite a few of the doctors said that he had a good chance of not leaving the hospital alive. At that point we were both pretty much desperate. Anything that would work to make him live. We would pretty much take it and work with it.”

While Kaiba’s doctors couldn’t do anything, there were a few doctor’s at the University of Michigan that helped create a new device called a tracheal splint that was made from a biopolymer called polycaprolactone. Glenn Green, M.D., associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan and Scott Hollister, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and associate professor of surgery at the University of Michigan immediately created the splint for Kaiba and performed the surgery to implant it around his airway.

The splint, that was custom-designed, was created from a CT scan of Kaiba’s windpipe and then using a 3D printing machine. It was then sewn around Kaiba’s airway to expand the bronchus so that as he grows it gives his airway room to grow as well. The splint will eventually be absorbed by Kaiba’s body. “As soon as Kaiba’s splint was put in, his lungs started moving up and down for the first time. We knew that he would be okay.” said Green

Just 21 days after the procedure, Kaiba was off breathing support and hasn’t need it since.

“When he gets older, he’s going to be able to tell everyone about this story. That’s all this is going to be is a story about his life. How he made it, how he’s doing, and how far he’s going to go.” said Kaiba’s father.

And what an incredible story he has to tell. We wish you an incredible journey Kaiba!

To learn more about Kaiba’s story. Watch the video below.

When More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:

Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram! Check out more of Lauren’s Babble posts at Babble Baby.

Image via University of Michigan Health System

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