Interventional Cardiology for Preterm Infants

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital offers lifesaving interventional cardiology treatments for preterm infants, including micropreemies.

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is one of the few hospitals in the nation offering lifesaving interventional cardiology treatments for the full spectrum of preterm infants, including micropreemies.

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What is Considered Preterm?

Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy are considered preterm. They are extremely preterm if less than 28 weeks, very preterm if 28-32 weeks, and moderate to late preterm if born at 32-37 weeks. Extremely preterm infants are often born at extremely low birth weight of less than 1000 grams (35 ounces or less) and are considered micropreemies if less than 26 weeks or 800 grams. Because of their small size and very low birth weight, micropreemies have a much higher risk of complications than other premature babies.

Life-saving Minimally Invasive Procedure

Preemie Surgery

About 60,000 premature babies in the U.S. are born each year with a very low birth weight. Nearly 12,000, or one in five, have a vessel remain open in their hearts called patient ductus arteriosus (PDA) – which can be potentially life-threatening. The PDA can allow large amounts of blood to continually recirculate to the lungs, delaying development of immature lungs, and increasing the work of the heart.

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Heart Institute is the first hospital south of Orlando to treat patients with this congenital heart defect using Abbott’s Amplatzer Piccolo™ Occluder, a device smaller than a pea. The Piccolo device is the first and only minimally invasive, transcatheter treatment specifically FDA-approved for premature babies.

Advantages of transcatheter PDA closure in extremely low birth weight newborns include immediate PDA closure, especially when medications fail to work. Further, transcatheter PDA closure is less invasive than surgery. 

Ligon Preemie Surgery

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