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Three-Year-Old Dasha Has a Heart Defect.

Heart Surgery Can Save Her Life. Please Help.

Dasha is a three-year-old girl with a congenital heart defect. Endovascular surgery can save her life. The full cost of the operation is $43,000. Dr. Sean Levchuck at Saint Francis Hospital will perform the surgery for free, but the cost of expendable medical supplies, airfare, living expenses and support for the family is $9,530. Russian Gift of Life USA's Moscow partner, the children's charity Rusfond, has pledged to cover the airfare. There is still a shortage of $7,000.


Dasha has an ASD (an atrial septal defect), a condition in which the wall that separates the upper heart chambers does not close completely. As a result, blood continues to flow from the left to the right atria. If too much blood moves from the right side of the heart, pressure in the lungs builds up. She was first diagnosed with this condition at birth. Yet options for treatment in her area of Russia are limited. If the ASD is not closed, Dasha risks heart failure, atrial fibrillation, pulmonary over-circulation, pulmonary hypertension and stroke. She is currently just under the minimum weight needed to make the surgery successful. Children with heart defects are often thin and do not grow at the same rate as other children their age. Dasha's surgery will be scheduled at St. Francis Hospital just as soon as her weight reaches the requisite 35 pounds for a complete and permanent repair. She is just 1 pound away from that goal. Dasha is from Lipetsk, Russia.

Dasha's defect can be treated without the need for open-heart surgery, using a medical device called an amplatzer, but her young parents cannot afford to pay for the operation. Dasha's father is a factory worker, and Dasha's mother works at the local zoo.

"We want to come to America to save Dasha, but the cost is enormous. Please help us." - Evgeniya Berdnikova, Lipetsk, Russia.

Through a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure, Dr. Levchuck, Chairman of Pediatric Cardiology at Saint Francis Hospital, will be able to correct the girl's heart condition so she can live like other girls her age.

Dasha is now the required weight for successful surgery. Her surgery is scheduled for Spring 2013.

All the funds necessary for Dasha's surgery and other expenses have been raised.

Dasha was successfully operated at St. Francis Hospital in New York on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. She and her mother went back home to Russia on April 29, 2013. Dasha's family is grateful for everyone's support.

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