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Trachea Implants Improve Prognosis for Babies with Rare Respiratory Condition

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Disability Help Group

The future of medical technology may lie in 3D printing, as evidenced by recent cases in which doctors used growth-flexible implants to treat children with a rare condition, pediatric tracheobronchomalacia. The authors published a follow-up of the three patients in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The condition is a rare congenital disease that affects about 1 in every 2,200 newborns. Most of these children show signs similar to asthma but do not respond to traditional treatments. Many infants need to be placed on ventilators or have breathing assistance on a regular basis before they grow out of it in their toddler years.

However, children with severe cases, such as the three children profiled in the research paper, often cannot survive off ventilators and usually do not make it past early childhood. Doctors believed that if they could just get past the two to three year mark, their weakened trachea would strengthen on its own.

Using 3D printed trachea implants, doctors were able to drastically improve the quality of life in three infants. Kaiba, who was only three months old at the time of his implant, is now three years old and active in his preschool, living a normal healthy life. All three participants were able to come off ventilators and avoid long hospital stays, sedation, and narcotic drugs, according to the report. The improved respiratory ability also improved the health of multiple organ systems, allowing better nutrition absorption and removing the need for intravenous therapy.

3D printed limbs are already helping make life much easier for children born without limbs or who lost them due to amputation. Doctors may start looking to 3D printing to produce other flexible medical devices. 

Childhood respiratory diseases are just a handful of the types of conditions, diseases and illnesses that can qualify a child for Social Security disability benefits. If your child was born with a disabling condition or developed one later in life, Disability Help Group can help you file and/or appeal your claim. Call today – 1-(800)-800-3332.