Children love to play – even while at the hospital. We all love the colorful children’s playroom right near the ICU! As cardiac professionals we are focused on training new cardiac specialists in order to increase access to heart care for patients in underserved areas of the world. As humanitarians, we never forget that each surgical case is a person – a child or an adult loved by his or her family and friends. At Heart to Heart, we are honored to be part of a community that is a force for positive global change.
Assessing irregular heart beats: Heart to Heart volunteer, Dr. Bryan Cannon, an electrophysiologist from the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Dina Vozdvizhenskaya, a cardiologist from Heart to Heart’s partner site in Samara, Russia, review the EKG readings of a child born with Ebstein anomaly.
World renowned expert and surgeon, Joseph Dearani, generously shares his extensive expertise through a lecture entitled, “The Pearls and Pitfalls of Ebstein Anomaly.” to an audience of more than 40 visiting medical colleagues from throughout Russia.
Kaliningrad is the site of Heart to Heart’s sixth pediatric cardiac partner site in the Russian Federation. Prior to our collaboration, children in this region of the country did not have access to open heart surgery.
As others look on, surgeons Joseph Dearani and Vyacheslav Belov (center background holding instruments) repair the valve of a young child with the help of surgical technician Olesya Dushkova (front left) and surgical assistant Joan Wobig (front right). The eight open heart operations we performed were streamed live to an audience of physicians from throughout the country.
In the operating room Caitlin Blau, perfusionist from the Mayo Clinic, runs the cardiopulmonary bypass machine during open heart surgery. Once the surgical team has stopped the heart from beating, Caitlin’s job is to ensure that the patient’s body is adequately perfused and oxygenated – in other words, she temporarily manages the circulatory and respiratory functions of the heart and lungs while surgeons make direct repairs to the heart.
Veteran Heart to Heartniks unite in Kaliningrad (From left) Brenda Jarvis, RN; Evgeny Krivoshchekov, MD; Josie Everett; Frank Cetta, MD; and Irma Ozashvili at the beginning of a busy day of bilingual education, training, and heart surgery. Collectively the five of them have filled more than 70 volunteer positions on dozens of Heart to Heart surgical-educational missions!
Heart to Heart volunteers Frank Cetta (center) and Joseph Dearani (right) observe as cardiologist Olga Laryutina (lower left) performs an echocardiogram on a child to determine the viability of valve repair through open heart surgery.