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Three-Year-Old Liza Has Patent Ductus Arteriosus. Heart Surgery Can Save Her Life. Please Help.

Little Liza Inyutina has a smile that could light up a room. But the 3-year-old Russian girl never knew the joy of being able to play without feeling tired because of a congenital heart defect. Now, Liza can look forward to celebrating a fun-filled Christmas like other children her age, thanks to a minimally invasive procedure at St. Francis that’s made her heart whole again.

Liza suffered from patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a hole between the aorta and pulmonary artery that allows oxygen-rich blood to mix with oxygen-poor blood. She was one of three young people from Russia to receive lifesaving cardiac procedures at St. Francis on December 22 – just three days before Christmas. The other patients are: 16-year old Mikhail Nikonov, who suffers from the same condition as Liza, and 12-year-old Tatiana Zhabina, who suffers from atrial septal defect (ASD), a condition that also causes mixing of the blood.

Through a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure, Sean Levchuck, M.D., Chairman of Pediatric Cardiology, was able to correct the youngsters’ conditions. All three will be getting a special visit from Santa just 24 hours after undergoing their procedures. Dr. Levchuck and St. Francis Hospital are donating their services as part of their longstanding partnership with Gift of Life. 

“To be able to perform procedures on three Gift of Life patients in a single day, just before the holidays, is deeply rewarding for me,” says Dr. Levchuck. “It’s a first for St. Francis, and as a physician, seeing all three so healthy, is the best Christmas gift I could get.”

The three youngsters have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House with their parents. It was long journey from their hometown of Lipetsk, a region southwest of Moscow that takes 6 to 8 hours to reach by car or train. But their families all agree, that thanks to the kindness of others, it’s a trip they will never forget.


Gift of Life, Inc. and Russian Gift of Life, USA raised the funds necessary for Liza's surgery and travel expenses thanks to your generosity.

Liza was successfully operated at Saint Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York on December 22, 2010.

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