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Sinusitis procedure helps kid breathe easy

June 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
From batting, to catching, to throwing, Nathan Maggi knows what it will take to get into Major League Baseball."Practice a lot, just do it every day, constantly," Nathan says.

His dream has become a family affair, with his dad taking the lead.

"He's taught me everything," Nathan says. "All the basics."

But like most families, when Nathan was having a hard time breathing, they let him know.

"He was like Darth Vader to us," says Nathan's mother, Gail. "He had the heavy breathing."

Nathan was suffering from sinusitis. His nasal passages were blocked.

It's a problem for millions of kids. When that stuffy nose just won't go away, it can become sinusitis.

Some 37 million Americans suffer from it.

"We have very few options in children," said Dr. Hamed Sajjadi a surgeon at the San Jose Ear & Sinus Medical Center.

Traditionally, antibiotics and nasal sprays would give some relief. Surgery is painful, and recovery is long.

But a study just released shows a safe option for pediatric patients: balloon sinuplasty.

A catheter is delivered to blocked passages, then a balloon at the end is inflated to open the area.

"We don't have to create a new opening," Sajjadi says. "We don't drill any holes. No tissue is removed."

Doctors say balloon sinuplasty is nearly risk free and can be done on patients as young at two years old.

Nathan was back at bat within 24 hours.

"It made it a lot easier," Nathan says.

"It's been a huge, noticeable difference," says Nathan's father, Brandon.

"Darth Vader," Sajjadi said. "Hopefully, that's gone now."

Now, Nathan and his family can concentrate on his game.


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