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Eleven-Year-Old Fedor Elfimov Has a Complex Heart Defect.
Open-Heart Surgery Can Save His Life. Please Help.

Fedor Elfimov is an eleven-year-old boy with a very complex congenital heart defect called Ebstein's anomaly. Open-heart surgery can save his life. The full cost of the operation is over $150,000. Dr. Joseph Dearani of the Mayo Clinic will perform the surgery for free, but the cost of airfare, US visas, travel within the US, and living expenses and support for the family is $6,545. Russian Gift of Life USA’s Moscow partner the children’s charity Rusfond has funded the family’s flight (Moscow – New York – Moscow) for $1,703. There is still a shortage of $4,842. Fedor's mother says:


"Fedor is my only child. He is very sick. We have taken him to see specialists in Russia. They wanted to operate immediately, but refused to say just how they would fix Fedya's heart. I couldn't agree to just let them experiment on him. A hospital administrator told me that if we refused treatment, that if Fedya got worse and came back, they would not help him. I was angry and desperate. I know my son needs help, but what has to be done? We went to another hospital in Russia, the doctors there said it is best for Fedor to be treated at the Mayo Clinic. They believe that Fedor’s surgery can no longer be delayed, that Fedor requires immediate medical intervention and it is better to do it in America. They have the expertise there and can help Fedor. We’ve never flown before, but we are ready to go to America. I cannot work - I take care of Fedor and my mother who is disabled. Where can I find the money to save Fedor? Please help.” Elena Elfimova, Voronezh, Russia

Fedor's defect can only be treated through open-heart surgery. Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Frank Cetta of the Mayo Clinic has confirmed Fedor's diagnosis - Ebstein's anomaly. It is a rare disease involving the right side of the heart. This disorder occurs when the tricuspid valve, that divides the two chambers of the right side of the heart, does not form correctly. Normally, the tricuspid valve separates the right atria and right ventricle. In Ebstein anomaly, the valve forms too far down in the ventricle. This makes the right ventricle smaller and weaker than normal. Often there is also a connection between the left and right atria. The tricuspid valve usually has three parts that move freely. In Ebstein anomaly, one or two parts of the valve get stuck to the walls of the heart and don’t move correctly, so blood can leak back in the wrong direction.

The main problem in Ebstein anomaly is that the tricuspid valve is not located in the correct position. The valve is not only in the wrong position, but it also leaks because the parts don’t all move correctly. The leaky valve can cause blood to back up into the rest of the body, causing swelling of the legs and belly, an enlarged liver and difficulty breathing. If the blood backs up through the connection between the left and right atria, then there is mixing of oxygenated and unoxygenated blood that is carried to the body. This can cause a bluish discoloration of the fingers and lips called cyanosis. The hole between the atrial chambers can also allow blood clots to pass from the right side of the heart to the left and possibly cause strokes in the brain or tissue damage in the heart. Sometimes, children with Ebstein anomaly may also have an abnormal heart rhythm that can possibly cause fainting, a feeling of their heart racing or skipping beats, shortness of breath, or dizziness.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic may be able to repair Fedor's heart using the cone procedure or they may have to replace Fedor's valve. Fedor and his mother are anxiously awaiting the day of surgery.

Through a long operation, Dr. Dearani will be able to correct Fedor's condition so he can live like other children his age.


Fedor's life-saving heart surgery was successfully completed on May 29, 2012.


Russian Gift of Life USA raised the funds necessary

to support Fedor's travel and living expenses.

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