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Success! Adrian from Bolivia raised $1,500 to fund cardiac surgery so that he can breathe well and grow strong.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Adrian's treatment was fully funded on February 4, 2023.

Photo of Adrian post-operation

February 28, 2023

Adrian underwent a successful cardiac surgery.

During his cardiac surgery, doctors opened Adrian’s pulmonary valve to a more normal size so that blood can flow through it without backing up. His medical team shared that he can now lead his normal life without further risk from this condition.

Adrian’s mother said: “I can already see a huge difference in my son, he can walk and play without getting out of breath now!”

During his cardiac surgery, doctors opened Adrian's pulmonary valve to a more normal size so that blood can flow through it without backing ...

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December 31, 2022

Adrian is an 8-year-old boy from Bolivia. He lives in a neighborhood in the mountains above La Paz with his parents and three siblings; he is in the fourth grade in school.

Adrian was born with a cardiac condition called pulmonary valvar and subvalvar stenosis, in which the area in and around one of his valves is too small to allow blood to flow through it properly. As a result, blood backs up into his heart, leaving him weak and short of breath.

During surgery, doctors will use a balloon to stretch the valve open so that blood can pass through it more freely. His family is raising funds to support his treatment with our medical partner HCA.

Adrian’s mother says: “Our family is very excited to know that our son can finally have a normal heart!”

Adrian is an 8-year-old boy from Bolivia. He lives in a neighborhood in the mountains above La Paz with his parents and three siblings; he i...

Read more

Adrian's Timeline

  • December 31, 2022

    Adrian was submitted by Owen Robinson, Executive Director at Haiti Cardiac Alliance.

  • January 9, 2023

    Adrian's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • January 20, 2023

    Adrian received treatment at Hospital del Niño Dr. Ovidio Aliaga Uría in Bolivia. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • February 4, 2023

    Adrian's treatment was fully funded.

  • February 28, 2023

    Adrian's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 22 donors

Funded by 22 donors

Congenital Cardiac Surgery
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $4,000 for Adrian's treatment
Subsidies fund $2,500 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

When a hole exists in the heart, a physician can hear a buzzing noise, or murmur, in the child's chest as blood passes through the hole at high velocity. Parents might notice that their child cannot keep up with other children in daily activities. In severe cases, the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream can lead to dramatic symptoms, such as blue lips and tongue, clubbed fingers and toes, and heart failure.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Most congenital cardiac conditions will eventually lead to death without surgery, often within a period of months or years depending on severity. In the meantime, patients experience heart failure as their hearts struggle to compensate for the presence of leaks or other defects. In most conditions, the heart becomes fatigued, limiting the child's ability to be active, go to school, and participate in daily life.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Pediatric open-heart surgery has only been made available in Bolivia in recent years. Most families are unfamiliar with the concept of open-heart surgery and are at first quite reluctant to allow their child to undergo this care. Indigenous belief systems in Bolivia can at times contribute to a family's reluctance to proceed with surgery, and must be addressed through thoughtful conversation and social accompaniment of each family.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

The child's cardiac symptoms are usually first detected by their local pediatrician, who then refers the child to the nearest pediatric cardiologist for exam and diagnosis. Once diagnosed, HCA works with the local cardiologist and the surgical team in La Paz to ensure that the child is enrolled on the waiting list for surgery at the hospital, and works directly with the family to facilitate their transportation to La Paz, often from very long distances, and to support them socially and logistically after arrival. The child then undergoes surgery and recovers for about a week in La Paz before returning home to their community. HCA then coordinates with the child's pediatric cardiologist to ensure high-quality, long-term follow-up care, and provides financial support for medications and doctor visits as needed.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

These treatments are almost always life-saving in nature as the cardiac conditions are not survivable over the long-term without surgery. Within weeks after surgery, the patient should already notice a difference in energy level. Many patients also undergo a growth spurt and/or gain significant weight after a surgery.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

The risk of death during or shortly after an open-heart surgical procedure is about 3%. Other risks, though rare, include stroke and post-operative infection. In a small percentage of cases, the material used to patch the hole will separate from the edges of the hole, and a follow-up surgery is necessary to re-patch the defect.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

For families without private-sector insurance, the cardiac surgery program in La Paz is the only year-round surgical program in Bolivia capable of treating children who need open-heart surgery. Children come to this program from throughout Bolivia; many families live in extremely remote and mountainous areas that can require several days of overland travel to reach La Paz. For patients who live more than 8-10 hours away by road, HCA arranges for families to come by plane from the nearest commercial airport to their home.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

In general, patients are treated with medications to prevent heart failure until they are able to obtain their surgeries. Patients may also seek care from traditional healers, who may use liquids and powders derived from local plants and roots.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.