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Two Traumatic Years Have Come to An End

Michael Yurieff  | Published on 3/1/2017

Two-year-old Misha was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), effectively meaning he has only half of a heart. Still considered inoperable in many developing centers, HLHS is the highest risk diagnosis of all heart defects. His condition requires three surgeries and carries a significant risk of death between each surgery. Misha has had two open-heart surgeries in 2014 the year he was born.


Pediatric heart surgeon Dr. William Novick and his non-profit medical teams have performed over 8,500 pediatric heart surgeries in more than 30 countries worldwide since 1993. Fortunately, they were in Misha’s hometown of Voronezh, Russia when he was born. Dr. Novick performed Misha’s first open-heart surgery in April 2014. Misha’s second operation followed in December 2014 when he was ten months old. And last October, Dr. Novick performed Misha’s third and final surgery.

Children who have had multiple surgeries are at increased risk of operative bleeding, and Misha was no exception. Nevertheless, he was off the breathing machine five hours after surgery and left the Intensive Care Unit three days post-operatively.


Misha’s progress has been truly amazing. His adolescent mother, supported by her own parents, has been with him throughout these traumatic two years. And although his defect is never truly "corrected," Misha now has normal oxygen levels and is energetic and active. He will require very close follow up, but there is a good chance that he will require no further surgery until adolescence or early adulthood. Misha plays with bubbles and laughs a few days after surgery at


The Gift of Life, Inc. and Russian Gift of Life USA are helping to fund medical training missions to Voronezh, where Misha was operated. The first mission took place in November 2013.


Misha was successfully operated on October 20, 2016. Dr. Novick and his team will follow-up with Misha during the eighth surgical training mission to Voronezh taking place from February 25th through March 11th 2017.


The picture above shows Misha and his mother soon after his third surgery.

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