The development of medical devices for children faces unique challenges that have contributed to a paucity of devices specifically designed and tested for children. Increased knowledge on research activities for pediatric devices can guide optimal study design and ensure timely dissemination of clinical findings.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of interventional studies registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, initiated January 1, 2017, through December 12, 2022, evaluating a Food and Drug Administration–regulated class II or III device, and enrolling any pediatric patients (aged ≤17 years). Data were extracted from ClinicalTrials.gov on study characteristics and from Devices@FDA on device features. For completed studies, we determined whether results were reported in a peer-reviewed publication as of December 27, 2022.
Among 482 studies, 406 (84.2%) examined a class II device and 76 (15.8%) a class III device. The most common device types were diabetes-related devices (N = 57, 11.8%) and monitors and measurement devices (N = 39, 8.1%). Most studies were single-center (N = 326, 67.6%), used a nonrandomized (N = 255, 52.9%), open label (N = 350, 72.6%) design, and were funded by academic institutions (N = 278, 57.7%) or industry (N = 142, 29.5%). A total of 291 (60.4%) studies included a primary outcome of only efficacy without safety endpoints. Among completed studies, more than half (N = 64, 51.6%) enrolled <50 participants and 71.0% (N = 88) <100. After median follow-up of 3.0 years, results were available in publications for 27 (21.8%) completed studies.
Our findings serve to inform programs and initiatives seeking to increase pediatric-specific device development. In addition to considerations on ensuring rigorous trial design, greater focus is needed on timely dissemination of results generated in pediatric device studies.