A rare operation to rebuild and widen the trachea along its full length and reconnect it to the pulmonary artery was performed successfully in a 9-month-old infant at Schneider Children's. The infant suffered from a malformation of the windpipe which prevented her from breathing on her own, as well as a pulmonary vascular defect that frequently accompanies the tracheal abnormality.
The infant was transferred on a ventilator from another hospital to the Intensive Care Unit in a critical condition, suffering from respiratory failure. The life-saving operation required rebuilding and widening the entire trachea and reconnecting it to the pulmonary artery.
The operation was performed by Dr. Milton Saute, Director of Lung Surgery in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at the Rabin Medical Center, senior cardiac surgeon Dr. Gabi Amir, and Dr. Yaacov Katz, Director of the Anesthesiology Unit at Schneider Children's. The operation included repair and widening of the trachea utilizing the special technique of tracheoplasty. Dr. Tommy Schonfeld, pulmonology specialist and Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Schneider, performed an imaging study of the trachea utilizing a thin fiberoptic bronchoscope both pre- and post-surgery. Follow-up of the infant's recovery was supervised by Dr. Einat Birk, Director of the Cardiology Institute at Schneider Children's.
The infant recovered in the PICU where she remained under ventilation for a further 10 days after which she underwent ventilation without intubation for a further week. Two weeks post-surgery, her condition was good and she was breathing on her own. The operation to build and widen the trachea and reconnect it to the pulmonary artery is a rare procedure that has been conducted in only a few medical centers in the world.