Health Beat: Small devices for small patients

Health Beat: Small devices for small patients

CLEVELAND - A warning for expectant mothers: 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 had her first heart surgery when she was just two hours old.

"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, Vivian'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," Andorf said.

"Most of the equipment that we use was designed and developed and produced for adults," said Dr. Alex Golden, pediatric cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.

Imagine a wire the size of the cord on your headphones, snaking through a tiny baby. Using adult-sized catheters, doctors can damage access vessels in the groin and cause a blockage.

Golden is the first pediatric cardiologist in the United States to use a new approved 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," Golden explained.

"It feels like we have so much hope," Andorf said. Hope that a newborn given just a five percent chance of survival will beat the odds.

Vivian has one more surgery planned for this year. The new catheter is the first in the U.S. to be approved specifically for children.

DOWNLOAD and VIEW research summary

DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. Alex Golden about treating babies born with heart problems

Due to our site relaunch on October 25, previous comments on existing stories are no longer available.  This change is due to the limitations of Facebook's software 

The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the TERMS OF USE  and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Your comments may be used on air. Be polite. Inappropriate posts or posts containing offsite links may be removed by the moderator.


There are 5 areas under advisories, watches or warnings.   DETAILS >>>

Allentown, PA 18102





  • %

This Week's Circulars

Top Stories

Latest from the newsroom

More from the Newsroom