Vera, age 10, “gets all the attention” – Emotional Journey from Ukraine to Israel

February 15, 2022

Vera came to Israel from Ukraine to undergo a valve transplant via catheter to correct a heart defect • This is the first operation of its kind in such a young patient • Her emotional mother: “The operation went well and she is fine”

As tensions in her country escalate, ten-year-old Vera arrived in Israel from Ukraine to undergo life-saving treatment and the first of its kind in such a small girl, at Sheba Medical Center. Vera underwent a catheter valve replacement to repair a congenital defect.

Catheter valve replacement is not uncommon but is in Vera’s case: she’s a 10-year-old girl who weighs only 44 lbs and is the smallest to have undergone this procedure in Sheba.

Vera was born with a heart defect that included a large hole in the septum between the heart ventricles and narrowing at the right outlet of the heart. The hole in the septum was surgically repaired, but during the operation its pulmonary valve was damaged. “I was pregnant with twins. Without any prior preparation, after my son was born healthy, my daughter went out into the world and immediately began to turn blue,” says Vera’s mother Natalia, age 42, who accompanied her to Israel for treatment.

“The medical staff diagnosed there was a problem with her heart. When my daughter was four months old, she underwent open heart surgery that helped her recover and develop like a normal girl her age. Unfortunately, by age 6 there was a setback, and the heart defect delayed my daughter’s development and functioning, and by the time she reached the age of ten, she weighed only 20 kg. I was looking all over the world for a solution to its complex situation. “Finally, I came to Safra Children’s Hospital through a recommendation from a family in Kiev, who underwent a similar procedure of a heart valve transplant at Safra.”

Dr. Sharon Borik, a senior pediatric cardiologist, is the one who led the unique treatment: “What was special about this case was the low body weight. This is the smallest girl we have ever cared for in the country. This means that we can now give similar care to smaller and smaller children. ”

Published February 14, 2022 Israel Hayom (Hebrew)

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