A 19-month-old boy is happy and thriving today, thanks to a lifesaving device doctors at the University of Michigan implanted in his throat when he was a small baby.
Kaiba Gionfriddo was born with a condition called tracheobronchomalacia. It causes a baby's airways to collapse due to weakness, but it's often hard to diagnose and can be confused with asthma. (Scary.)
When Kaiba was 2 months old, his parents were eating at a Waffle House when he turned blue and stopped breathing. Doctors at the emergency room wound up discharging him because they believed he had aspirated something. But when it happened again a couple days later, the poor baby wound up being put on a ventilator. Mom April Gionfriddo says, "He ended up spending four months in the hospital."
Kaiba's prognosis did not look promising at all, until doctors decided to make a device that would be placed around his trachea to stop it from collapsing.
They took scans of his airways, and based on those, they used a 3-D bioprinter to create a little splint for his airway and put it in place during a surgery.
Just wait until you hear more about the incredible procedure in this video clip. It's really groundbreaking -- and awesome!
Pretty amazing, right? And it's so cool how the material used for the splint will eventually be reabsorbed by Kaiba's body, so he won't need another surgery to remove it. And by the time that occurs, his airways will have grown and strengthened enough to work on their own.
Considering that babies have died from tracheobronchomalacia makes Kaiba's success story even more amazing -- because now there is hope to parents who wind up having a child diagnosed with the condition. With this revolutionary device, there is now an option to turn to in the hopes of assisting other children with breathing until their airways are strong enough to function alone.
I can't even imagine hearing that my precious baby had a life-threatening condition, but finding out that other parents have gone through the same struggle and had a positive outcome would be more than enough to get me through it for sure. Hopefully Kaiba's story will reach parents who need to hear it -- and possibly lead to more lives being saved.
Have you ever heard of tracheobronchomalacia?
Image via UMHealthSystem/YouTube