New push for pint-sized medical devices to treat sick kids

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Improvise isn’t a word parents want to hear from their kid’s doctor. Yet pediatric specialists too often have to jury-rig care because many of the medical devices needed to treat sick children were built for adults.

Part of the problem is size.

Doctors fixed Alice de Pooter’s faltering heartbeat by wedging an adult pacemaker into a baby’s body. But the device’s large battery bulged so badly under her rib cage that she struggled to sit upright until her first birthday.

It’s also an engineering problem. Children aren’t just miniature adults; their bodies are growing and changing. When adult devices haven’t been formally studied in children, using them in youngsters can raise safety questions.

“It affects patient care. We need to find a resolution,” Dr. Matthew Oetgen, chief of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine at Children’s National Health System, said at a recent grants competition that the Washington hospital hosted to help spur development of innovative pediatric devices.

There’s little financial incentive to create and test pint-sized devices because children overall are healthier than adults and make up a fraction of the treatment market.

But families are starting to demand solutions.

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About Peter Coffaro 1439 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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