Cleveland Clinic Doctor Innovates Breathing Disorder Treatment

Jan 11, 2020

The Cleveland Clinic is using new 3D printing design to treat breathing disorders. Dr. Thomas Gildea spent five years researching airway stents. Before his design, stents were either straight or had to be cut and stitched together to fit each patient’s needs. He said they often caused even more problems for patients.

“Over time the stents become the problem often worse than the disease,” Gildea said.

He said one patient required frequent adjustments to prevent serious problems with inflammation.

“I’d been placing stents in him over a number of years and got to the point where his stents were causing problems and I was having to do operations on him almost every month.”

Gildea said he asked the FDA for compassionate use for the patient in order to test his 3D-printed design. He said, after a year, the patient had no problems with the custom-designed stents. The FDA has now approved that design for widespread use.