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Kervens from Haiti raised $1,500 for a diagnostic catheterization procedure.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Kervens's treatment was fully funded on July 8, 2016.

Photo of Kervens post-operation

August 20, 2016

Kervens received his diagnostic catheterization procedure.

During the procedure, a catheter was inserted into Kervens’s heart to measure his arterial pressures and determine whether he can safely undergo cardiac surgery. The procedure itself took place in the Dominican Republic, as these types of diagnostic tests are not available in Haiti. Kervens’s case is so complex the catheterization results now need to be reviewed in detail by a panel of experts to plan his course of treatment.

“We had a very nice trip to the Dominican Republic and everyone was very friendly,” Kervens’ mother shared. “We are looking forward to the next step.”

During the procedure, a catheter was inserted into Kervens's heart to measure his arterial pressures and determine whether he can safely und...

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June 20, 2016

23-month-old Kervens was born with two holes in his heart: one between the two upper chambers, the other between the two lower chambers. Blood leaks through these holes without first passing through the lungs to get oxygen, leaving him sickly and weak.

Because of the nature of his condition, the only way to know whether surgery is possible for Kervens is to first do a diagnostic cardiac catheterization, in which a catheter probe is inserted into his heart in order to take detailed measurements. The results of this test will determine whether he is operable, and if he is, his doctors will then go on to arrange surgery. This procedure is not available in Haiti, so he must travel to the Dominican Republic to undergo the test.

Kervens is a very calm and happy child who likes to be carried and to meet new people. Kervens lives in northern Haiti with his mother, aunt, and an older sister. His mother is currently unemployed and looking for work, and so the cost of the diagnostic test that her son urgently needs is beyond her financial means.

“My family is all praying that the test will go well and Kervens will be able to have his surgery,” Kervens’ mother shares.

23-month-old Kervens was born with two holes in his heart: one between the two upper chambers, the other between the two lower chambers. Blo...

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Kervens's Timeline

  • June 20, 2016

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

  • June 22, 2016

    Kervens received treatment at Clinica Corominas in Haiti. 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.

  • July 1, 2016

    Kervens's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • July 8, 2016

    Kervens's treatment was fully funded.

  • August 20, 2016

    We received an update on Kervens. Read the update.

Diagnostic Heart Catheterization
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • 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. The child's parents might notice that their son or daughter 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. The patients who undergo diagnostic catheterization are born with one of several types of congenital holes or defects in the heart.

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

Virtually all of the conditions treated at Haiti Cardiac Alliance will eventually lead to death without surgery, the majority of them within one to two years. 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?

Families in Haiti often have complex cultural mechanisms for understanding cardiac illnesses and their causes, sometimes involving voudou or other religious belief systems. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Haitian families in our medical partner's program also engage with the medical explanations and treatment of these conditions. Parents are willing and cooperative participants in their child's treatment.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

The patient is first referred to our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), by a pediatrician or another medical practitioner who detects symptoms that might be cardiac in nature. HCA staff then perform an echocardiogram to diagnose the cardiac condition. In some cases, the child may be eligible for surgery, but only after a cardiac catheterization to determine whether the pressures upon the lungs are still reversible. In this case, the child travels to the Dominican Republic to undergo this procedure. The child stay in the hospital overnight and is discharged the next day. Once the results are received, HCA can decide on next steps.

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

The cardiac catheterization itself is diagnostic in nature and does not cure the patient's heart condition. However, the patient cannot be accepted for surgery anywhere without first undergoing this procedure. It is thus a life-saving step in his or her treatment plan.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

Diagnostic catheterization is a relatively low-risk procedure. However, risks include excessive bleeding at the incision site and accidental puncture of the cardiac tissue with the catheter probe.

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

The country of Haiti currently has no cardiac catheterization lab, which is why all of HCA's patients must travel to Dominican Republic for this service.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no alternatives to diagnostic catheterization for measuring pulmonary pressures and assessing surgical viability.

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46% funded

$468to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.