Iranian baby girl with heart defect primed for surgery, doctors say

An Iranian infant who needs life-saving heart surgery and was temporarily barred from entering the U.S. by President Donald Trump's travel ban is primed to have heart surgery soon, her hospital said Friday. Four-month-old Fatemeh Reshad "has been...

Iranian baby girl with heart defect primed for surgery, doctors say

An Iranian infant who needs life-saving heart surgery and was temporarily barred from entering the U.S. by President Donald Trump's travel ban is primed to have heart surgery soon, her hospital said Friday.

Four-month-old Fatemeh Reshad "has been undergoing a series of diagnostic studies" since being admitted into OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital on Tuesday, the hospital said in a news release. Doctors performed a procedure known as a cardiac catheterization Friday to figure out how injured her lungs are before she has surgery.

"The procedure went well today," Dr. Laurie Armsby, interim head of the hospital's Division of Pediatric Cardiology, said in a statement Friday. "The results were very encouraging. Despite the excess of blood passing through her lungs we believe we can proceed with surgical correction as planned."

Doctors expect Fatemeh, who was born with a congenital heart disease that hinders about two in 10,000 newborns, to be in the hospital for as many as three weeks if everything goes as anticipated.

In a normal heart, blood pumps to the body and returns to the heart, then is pumped into the lungs where it picks up oxygen before again returning to the heart, Armsby explained last Saturday. In Fatemeh's heart, blood flows from the body into the heart, but instead of flowing into the lungs, it is pumped back into the body without the oxygen the lungs are meant to provide.

Under normal circumstances, the heart circulates blood in a series -- heart to body to heart to lungs and back to body -- but Fatemeh's heart works more like two parallel circulations, with one circulating blood in the body and another in the lungs, but without the two ever intermingling.

She can be expected "to live a full and active life" after surgery, Armsby said.

The hospital said the necessary surgery generally has a high success rate. The earlier in a baby's life it's performed, the better.

People who want to donate funds to "ensure continued care" for the infant can do so online. Those who want to donate to the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation, which benefits children and families in need of assistance, can do so online or by mailing a check to the foundation at 1121 S.W. Salmon Street, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97205.

-- Jim Ryan and Kale Williams
jryan@oregonian.com; kwilliams@oregonian.com

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