Small patients, big design challenges: Pediatric device experts guide engineers on solutions

Abbott’s Amplatzer Piccolo — designed for catheter delivery inside an infant’s heart — is among the smallest pediatric devices ever made. [Image courtesy Abbott]

“What sets pediatric devices apart? It’s about giving children a chance at a full life,” said Dr. Lars Søndergaard, divisional VP of medical affairs and chief medical officer for Abbott’s Structural Heart division. “The solutions we design can’t just tackle the issue at hand — they need to enable normal development and stand the test of time across decades of life.”

Unlike the predictable anatomies of adults, young patients — some barely larger than the palm of a hand — are constantly changing, and those changes need to be accounted for in the long-term efficacy of the device. And though the challenges are substantial, the reward is immense. Successfully addressing an unmet need in pediatric care not only offer…

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