Baby Born with Heart Outside Her Body Survives

Doctors predict a successful, though not absolute, recovery

Audrina Cardinas, one of the rare cases of babies born with a heart external to their chest cavity is recovering after complicated surgery.

Doctors say the disorder occurs to 1 of 8 million infants and in most of the cases the babies are stillborn or die soon after being brought to life, Daily Mail reports.

Surgeons from Texas Children's Hospital in Huston needed hours of huge efforts to stabilize Audrina's condition and to offer her the chance to a further recovery.

The doctors discovered Audrina suffered of ectopia cordis, the congenital malformation which causes the given location of the heart, after only 16 weeks from her conception.

They have presented Ms. Cardenas, Audrina's mother, the three choices she had, given the situation.

She could make an abortion, give birth to the baby knowing that she would most likely die right after or allow the doctors do surgery while the baby was still unborn. The latter consisted of making a whole into the infant's chest in order to make the heart's relocation possible.

Ms. Cardenas has made the choice that was giving her baby the most time to be alive.

Although now it appears to have been the right choice to make, Audrina's having a long, normal life is no certainty.

Doctors say more surgeries are to be made as soon as the child's body is strong enough to take them. If all the surgeries succeed, Audrina could be given a normal life. However, she would have to be kept under a cardiologist's observation through her entire life.

“Despite Audrina's misplaced heart, she was born with no other syndromes or genetic conditions that would cause additional stress or complications on her heart,” explained Dr. Carolyn Altman, a pediatric cardiologist.

“Although her future prognosis is uncertain, Audrina is currently thriving and making progress each day.”

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