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Over the past 30 years, care for children who have life-threatening conditions has become more sophisticated. As a result, a new population of children who have special health-care needs has evolved: those assisted by medical technology. By definition, such children have a chronic condition that requires daily assistance by a medical device to replace or augment a bodily function to sustain life. (1) Such technologies allow children who previously would have required highly specialized care in a hospital to live at home. Understanding the scope of this population, general concepts, trends, and complications associated with some of the technologies themselves, along with the psychosocial aspects of caring for children assisted by technology at home, is critical for the pediatrician providing a medical home for this growing population of children.

Results of a recent national survey indicate that nearly 13%...

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