New technology saved the life of an infant with a rare disease that prevented him from breathing properly. A 3D printed breathing tube is the latest in new technology and will allow Kaiba Gionfriddo to have a healthier life.
Gionfriddo was born with tracheobronchomalacia, a respiratory condition that caused his airways to collapse. His parents first noticed the condition when he was six weeks old and turned blue due to a lack of oxygen. Gionfriddo had to be intubated and required a ventilator to breathe, but he still struggled even with the equipment.
"Quite a few doctors said he had a good chance of not leaving the hospital alive. At that point we were desperate. Anything that would work, we would take it and run with it," the boy's mother, April, said in a written statement.
Dr. Glenn Green and Dr. Scott Hollister worked together to create a splint for Gionfriddo's trachea. The two used a scan of Gionfriddo's airway to develop the splint, which was created using a 3D printer. The new tube is strong enough to keep the child's airways open and will actually expand as he grows. Eventually, the tube will be absorbed by the body as his airways grow stronger and develop correctly.
"It was amazing," Green said at a press conference. "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."
Just one week later, doctors decided to try and wean Gionfriddo off the ventilator; that was successful, and the baby left the hospital just two weeks later. He is now 20-months old and thriving.
"We are so thankful that something could be done for him," April said. "It means the world to us."
"Kaiba's case is definitely the highlight of my career so far," Hollister said. "To actually build something that a surgeon can use to save a person's life? It's a tremendous feeling."
Watch a video of the amazing technology that saved Kaiba's life HERE: