Thanks to a Tiny Heart Device, They're Twinning at Life

Twins Chloe and Contessa are growing and thriving, thanks in part to our Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder.

Thanks to a Tiny Heart Device, They're Twinning at Life
Healthy Heart | June 28, 2023

It's the tail end of April 2023, and a bubbly pair of twin girls is running around a Chuck E. Cheese in Yonkers, N.Y.

A group of family and friends forms around 3-year-olds Chloe and Contessa Gee on a flashing LED dance floor, ready to sing "Happy Birthday."

Inside each girl is an indominable spirit and a heart full of joy. And inside the Gee twins' hearts is our Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder. It filled the tiny holes the girls had in their hearts when they were born at 23 weeks and weighed one pound each.

Chloe and Contessa are the stars of the party, of course. But this wondrous device, smaller than a pea in size, plays a crucial supporting role. In addition to helping the girls, it fills their mother, Saleena, with peace of mind — to know that the Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder would help the daughters she calls her "miracle babies" be their amazing selves.

And, on this special occasion, party it up.

"Just seeing them get to the age of 3 is really exciting," Saleena Gee said. "I bought them candy bags. Everybody was happy. After the party they came home, they took their little showers and they went straight to bed. They were so tired."

A typical toddler birthday — for two toddlers who are anything but typical.

Thanks to a Tiny Heart Device, They're Twinning at Life

Hope in Tense Times

It's the spring of 2020, and a pair of twin girls has just come into the world during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the New York City area.

The hospital is chaotic, but the maternity ward stands mostly quiet, with just a few staff members present to welcome Chloe and Contessa. But those on hand are determined to help the premature infants conquer their heart condition.

The delivery, by caesarean section, had come at 23 weeks. The outlook was grim, and the decision was left up to Saleena whether she wanted to try to save the twins. Both girls were born with holes in their hearts that were causing breathing and feeding issues. Even after eating more and gaining weight, they would need heart surgery.

"I didn't see them until their second day," Saleena Gee recalled. "They had all these tubes and machines hooked up to them, and it was amazing to see them, but also so sad to see them having to go through all of that so fresh into the world."

When her doctor later laid out the options for Saleena, she picked a relatively new one at the time: our Piccolo Occluder.

Instead of the twins undergoing open-heart surgery, this tiny, intricately woven mesh device would be implanted in a minimally invasive procedure. It would fill the holes and remain safely inside the girls' hearts as they continued to develop and thrive.

And that's exactly what happened.

In medical terms, the Piccolo Occluder closed what is known as a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). In Chloe and Contessa terms, it helped them grow into the wonder twins they are today.

At 4 months old, they were able to come home from the hospital.

At 3 years old, they were begging their mom not to go home from their big birthday bash.

Thanks to a Tiny Heart Device, They're Twinning at Life

Ready for the World

It is present day, and Saleena Gee's Yonkers household is filled with chatter and love. Any chaos now is the kind that comes standard with 3-year-old twins.

Chloe and Contessa love to sing and dance. They also love playing with their older brothers, Isaiah and Jadon, and the feeling is mutual. And while home is their sanctuary, they’ve steadily been venturing out more and exploring, with Saleena less worried about them getting sick.

The birthday party serves as the latest evidence of how far these twins — so vulnerable at the very beginning of their lives — have come.

Saleena pointed out that they recently started going to daycare. "I've been seeing a really big improvement with their social skills," she said. "They're talking more. They say everything, truthfully.

"They're growing well, so I can't complain. I'm just grateful."

Important safety information


Rx Only 

Indication Of Use

The Amplatzer Piccolo™ Occluder is a percutaneous, transcatheter occlusion device intended for the nonsurgical closure of a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).


Weight < 700 grams at time of the procedure; Age < 3 days at time of procedure; Coarctation of the aorta; Left pulmonary artery stenosis; Cardiac output that is dependent on right to left shunt through the PDA due to pulmonary hypertension; Intracardiac thrombus that may interfere with the implant procedure; Active infection requiring treatment at the time of implant; Patients with a PDA length smaller than 3 mm; Patients with a PDA diameter that is greater than 4 mm at the narrowest portion.

Potential Adverse Events

Potential adverse events that may occur during or after a procedure using this device may include, but are not limited to: Air embolus, Allergic reaction, Anemia, Anesthesia reactions, Apnea, Arrhythmia, Bleeding, Cardiac perforation, Cardiac tamponade, Chest pain, Device embolization, Device erosion, Death, Endocarditis, Fever, Headache/migraine, Hemolysis, Hematoma, Hypertension, Hypotension, Infection, Myocardial infarction, Palpitations, Partial obstruction of aorta, Partial obstruction of pulmonary artery, Pericardial effusion, Pericarditis, Peripheral embolism, Pleural effusion, Pulmonary embolism, Re-intervention for device removal, Respiratory distress, Stroke, Thrombus, Transient ischemic attack, Valvular regurgitation, Vascular access site injury, Vascular occlusion, Vessel perforation.

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