Abstract: UCSF: Balloon Brace

Patient dropout rates from clinical studies regarding the compressive brace treatment of pectus carinatum have reached up to 40% in certain cases, primarily due to cosmetic and psychosocial factors affecting patients. Despite the high rate of success and low rate of recurrence for previous compressive brace treatments, the comfort and appearance of wearing the brace for an extended period of time have led to significant levels of non-compliance. The intended use of the brace is to apply constant compression on the sternal protrusion that distinguishes the congenital disease known as pectus carinatum. Current forms of treatment range from surgical correction (Ravitch procedure) to non-invasive orthotic braces. Rigor of prior research has shown these compressive braces to be made of an adjustable titanium or aluminum frame, with a pad in the front and back to apply pressure. Advancements included the use of a force sensor to quantify the pressure for initial correction (PIC), with brace-eligible values ranging from 2.5-7.5 psi, as well as a more compact sizing. Our team’s device is based on the Balloon Brace™, and aims to increase patient compliance through the use of a flexible elastic frame, foam compression pad, and the implementation of a monitoring system to display applied force (psi) over time of wear. A pressure sensor reading system will be implemented into the balloon brace design to provide both the user and the physician better knowledge about the amount of force being applied to the protruding cartilage, as well as the ability to monitor the time-of-wear of the device. We will use a force sensitive resistor embedded into the foam compression pad to output the measured force onto an external interface. With this implementation, we believe it will result in higher patient compliance for the device, along with a higher degree of quantitative data for prospective engineers looking to improve on the design.