Tiny Patient Benefits From Breakthrough Treatment
Veterinary Medical Center cardiologists treat smallest dog ever for PDA defect
By Sue Kirchoff
On October 4, 2009, David Jenkins and Gizmo, his three-pound Yorkshire terrier-mix puppy, made a 24-hour drive from their home in Pensacola, Florida, to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center (VMC). They were on a life-saving mission: Gizmo suffered from patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), the most common congenital cardiovascular defect of dogs, which leaves an opening between the pulmonary artery and the aorta. Without the procedure offered in a clinical trial at the VMC, the 6-month-old dog would likely die of heart failure within a year.
The two-and-a-half-hour procedure was performed by the Cardiology Service team on October 6, and an energetic Gizmo was released the next day—a quick, pain-free recovery that would not have been possible if she had undergone an invasive, “open-chest” procedure. Instead, Gizmo went home with just a few sutures in her upper hind leg and a life-saving device fully occluding her PDA.
The procedure involved the insertion of an investigational low-profile duct occluder introduced through a specially designed, extremely thin catheter. Inserted in the femoral artery in Gizmo’s leg, the catheter was advanced along the aorta to the PDA, where the occluder was deployed. The occluder acted as a plug, blocking the opening between the pulmonary artery and the aorta. In about three months, it will become part of the rest of her cardiovascular system, and Gizmo will have a normal, healthy life.
This minimally invasive procedure for PDA occlusion was researched and developed by the VMC Cardiology Service in collaboration with a medical device company. It has been successfully performed in more than 40 dogs at the VMC, and has rapidly become the method of choice for PDA occlusion in dogs worldwide. But it had never been performed in any dog as small as Gizmo.
Learn more about the Veterinary Medical Center's Cardiology Service