Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 18 October 2013 00:00
It is not uncommon for young people throughout the world to come to St. Francis Hospital of Roslyn for medical procedures that are not available in their native country.
Such was the case last Oct. 2, when two Russian youngsters, Katya Lebedeva and Anastasia Bakhtiarova were the recipients of successful heart surgeries at the hospital, both performed by Dr. Sean Levchuck.
On that date, Katya underwent a procedure that St. Francis doctors described as “minimally invasive,” one designed to succeed where two procedures in Katya’s native Russia fell short.
Katya, doctors said, was born with a hole in her heart from a condition called ventricular septal defect or VSD. St. Francis, fortunately, had the technology to handle her condition.
“This technology is a miracle for children who generations ago would have to undergo major surgery,” said Dr. Levchuck. “After recuperating at the hospital overnight, they can begin playing outdoors the very next day.”
The condition is caused by a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart. Doctors describe it as the most common form of congenital heart disease, one that causes a pressure difference between the right and left chambers, forcing the heart to work harder. If left uncorrected, doctors say that it can shorten and reduce the quality of life and may eventually lead to heart failure.
Dr. Levchuck used a catheter-based device to navigate through the arteries and veins and deliver a plug to the space.
Both patients were brought to St. Francis through Russian Gift of Life, an organization that specializes in bringing children to the United States and enabling them to receive life-saving cardiac procedures. Dr. Levchuck, along with St. Francis Hospital, donated all medical services.
The best part of the successful procedure is that it will allow Katya to pursue her dreams of a ballet dancer. Her previous condition made that art form too risky, but now she will be able to dance again in her native land.