Baby born with heart outside chest survives surgery

Baby born with heart outside chest survives surgery

Audrina Cardenas was born a healthy baby girl, despite the fact that she had a congenital condition, in which her heart formed outside the chest wall. She recently underwent surgery to correct the placement of the organ at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas.

This rare disease, called ectopia cordis, affects one in eight million babies and only 10 percent of them survive. It occurs during fetal development and can either be an isolated malformation or can be a part of several ventral wall defects, according to

Cardenas not only survived the complex surgery, but is doing really well.

This is outstanding news for little Audrina's mother Ashley, who was faced with the decision of what to do about her baby during the 16th week of her pregnancy. Her healthcare provider told her that she could either terminate the pregnancy, deliver her baby knowing the odds were against her survival or allow surgeons to construct a hole in the child's chest cavity to make room for the heart.

While little Audrina's prognosis is uncertain, according to Carolyn Altman, M.D, a pediatric cardiologist at the hospital, she's recovering and making great progress. Altman explained that the newborn will most likely need additional surgeries in the future to further correct the condition, as her sternum is not fully formed.

"I think she's going to make it," Charles Fraser, M.D., the Texas Children's surgeon-in-chief who led the surgery, told The Houston Chronicle. "Her heart's structurally in good shape, and she's survived the initial 48 to 72 hours after birth that are so tenuous for these patients."

Cardenas will continue to be monitored in intensive care, as she's still on a ventilator, but so far she's eating normally and does not require any additional support.

What do you think of baby girl Cardenas? Have you heard of ectopia cordis before? Leave your answers in the comments section!