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Heart technique performed in Roslyn lets Russian girls pursue passions

Dr. Sean Levchuck of St. Francis Hospital in

Dr. Sean Levchuck of St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn used a new type of heart surgery on Katya Lebedeva, 15, left, and Anastasia Bakhtiarova, 10, that will allow the girls to resume ballet and volleyball back home in Russia. (Oct. 4, 2013) Credit: Johnny Milano

Doctors at St. Francis Hospital have used a new type of heart surgery to improve the lives of two girls. Katya Lebedeva, 15, and Anastasia Bakhtiarova, 10, both from the Smolensk region of Russia, had holes in their hearts and were told that their conditions were irreparable, but doctors at the Roslyn hospital closed them with the innovative procedure.

In the past, this type of procedure involved major open-heart surgery; however, minimally invasive, catheter-based technology was used in these two cases.

The surgery is allowing the girls to return to their first loves -- ballet for Katya, volleyball for Anastasia. During a news conference Friday at the hospital, Katya received a pair of pointe shoes signed by a well-known Russian dancer, and Anastasia received a volleyball to practice with when she gets home. 

Learn more about the procedure in the video above.

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