Getting started in Chelyabinsk

Heart to Heart’s medical volunteers have begun their work to help advance both pediatric and adult cardiac care in Chelyabinsk, Russia – a city over 200 years old, located where the European and Asian continents meet.

This region of Russia was once famous for its heavy industry that turned out steel, tanks, and artillery to defend the USSR against the invasion of Nazi Germany. The city of Chelyabinsk is home to over one million people, and today they are better known for their world class hockey players and ice skaters, and as the site of the meteor that hit Russia in February 2013.

The first of several planned surgical-educational missions to the Chelyabinsk Federal Cardiac Center (CFCC) is currently underway: on the first day, we examined more than one dozen pediatric and adult patients by echocardiography (see patient photo below). On the second day we began procedures on children and continued screening pediatric and adult patients.

The CFCC is a high volume center. Thousands of patients are referred from neighboring cities each year. Because the Center is part of a federal network, patients of all ages also come from different parts of the country for treatment. (At federal centers, surgery is nearly free of charge to all citizens.) According to Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Professor Oleg Lukin, 90% of all patients referred to the CFCC undergo some type of heart procedure.

Now in its fifth year of operation, Chelyabinsk’s new pediatric team is off to an incredible start and Heart to Heart is thrilled to play a role in the important and timely development of cardiac medicine in this historic part of Russia’s heartland.

Thank you for your support as we all work together to save the lives of more children and babies!

Hannah Hunter