Children born prematurely can run into breathing difficulties because their delicate lungs may not inflate properly. In a heroic effort, Tatiana Saiaana, a preemie who was suffering from severe respiratory distress was given an experimental drug, called perflubron, filling her lungs with oxygen-dense liquid. The process would help inflate her collapsed lungs more gently than regular ventilation with oxygen. The treatment saved the young girl’s life and has renewed interest in the drug.
Jay Greenspan, MD, chair of the pediatric department at Thomas Jefferson University spoke with the Seattle Times about the case. Dr. Greenspan had done crucial initial research on perflubron in the mid -1990s and stayed in touch with some of the premature babies – now adults – who he treated with the drug.
“I was just thrilled” to hear the news about Tatiana, Dr. Greenspan told the Seattle Times. “We think there are a lot of babies who could do either a little better or significantly better with this [treatment].”
Tatiana’s doctor Kendra Smith from Seattle Children’s Hospital described the case at a conference in December, where colleagues showed great interest in the renewed use of the medication.