First child-sized catheter approved for surgery

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 10, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 10 at 5:29 PM

One in every 100 newborns has a heart problem. Until now, these babies were treated with the same devices used in adults.

Little Vivian Andorf was just two hours old when she had her first heart surgery.

"She's missing one chamber of her heart... Veins going from her lungs to her heart they are progressively narrow," said Margaret Andorf," Vivian's mom.

So far, she's had seven surgeries and six cauterizations.

"I've seen the caths and they're just these big long tubes and you just can't imagine how they get in," said Margaret Andorf.

"Most of the equipment that we use was designed and developed and produced for adults," said Pediatric Cardiologist Alex Golden.

Imagine a wire the size of a headphone cord snaking through a tiny baby. Using adult-sized catheters, doctors can damage vessels in the group and cause a blockage.

Dr. Golden is the first pediatric cardiologist in the U.S. to use a new catheter for kids.

"Having a cath that is 20 percent smaller than the smallest one we were using previously, I think, that's a great benefit," Dr. Golden said.

"It feels like we have so much hope," said Margaret Andorf.

Hope that a newborn given just a small chance of survival will beat the odds.

The new catheter is the first U.S. to be approved specifically for pediatric patients. Seattle Children's Hospital was involved in the clinical trials and is now testing other kid-sized devices.

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