Christian toddler flown from northern Iraq to Israel for coronary artery bypass surgery

Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital surgeons spent 8-hours performing labyrinthine surgery that included moving main arteries & creating a new path through Maryam Mansour’s heart so it would function properly.
• Child listed in stable condition.

By Yori Yalon


Maryam Mansour, an 18-month-old Iraqi girl whose family fled the Islamic State, had a serious heart defect. She and her family reached northern Iraq, and from there were recently flown to Israel, where doctors at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem performed a lifesaving operation on the child.

Hadassah Hospital pediatric specialists operate on Maryam Mansour – Photo: Hadassah Hospital

Maryam, whose family are Iraqi Christians, was evacuated to be treated at Hadassah by the Shevet Achim organization, which works to obtain treatment in Israel for children throughout the Middle East born with cardiac problems.

Maryam underwent surgery a few days ago at the Pediatric Cardiology Department. Professor Eldad Erez, head of the hospital’s Congenital Heart Surgery Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, led the team of surgeons.

The operation was complicated and took several hours. When the procedure was complete, it was declared a success and Maryam was listed in stable condition. She will, however, require long-term treatment to recuperate.

Professor Azaria Rein, head of the Department of Pediatric Cardiology, said that Maryam’s condition was “rare and complicated.”

“This was a situation in which the heart problem was complicated and included the heart being located on the right side [of the body], a large hole between the ventricles, and other issues. After we conducted catheterization to assess the blood pressure in her heart, it was decided that Maryam was indeed operable.”

Erez, who conducted the procedure along with his team, said that “Maryam arrived with an extremely complicated diagnosis. In considering her future, we decided to fix her heart so it would work like a normal one. The operation took nearly eight hours and was very complicated, since the two main arteries both went out of the right side, rather than one from each ventricle, and we had to create a pathway within the heart that would connect the left side of the heart to the main artery.

“Along the way, we even disconnected and reconnected a valve, and changed the location of the main arteries leading from the heart. All this while the heart was on the opposite side of the chest.”

Maryam’s mother, Lina, said after the operation, “I’m a little stressed because my daughter is hooked up to all sorts of machines, but the doctors told me she’s all right. I really miss my other children and my husband, who are in Iraq, but it’s important to me that the little one gets better. As long as that happens, I’m happy.”


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