Irie and Judah Felkner are now healthy, growing 18-month-olds. But when Irie was born early at just 1 pound 13 ounces, she had a life-threatening PDA that left her mom Crissa Felkner scared that they weren’t going to bring her home.
“We saw that Irie’s heart was enlarging in size and more and more fluid was collecting in her lungs,” Dr. Aimee Armstrong, director of Cardiac Catheterization and Interventional Therapies at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said in an Abbott news release.
Armstrong, who was Irie’s cardiologist, suggested her as a candidate for a clinical trial with the minimally invasive Piccolo device.
Dr. Evan Zahn of Cedars Sinai Smidt Heart Institute explained to CBS how the Piccolo device works: “The Piccolo device is advanced into the PDA just by gently pushing it out. That goes right into the PDA and plugs it almost immediately. We can reposition it by just drawing it back in the catheter and doing the whole thing over again until we think it’s perfect.”
Three days after the procedure, Irie Felkner was breathing on her own. She was one of the first babies treated with the device while Abbott was testing it out. FDA approved the device in January.