STATES CHRONICLE – A British baby was the first in the country to survive a rare and serious condition, which caused her to be born with her heart outside the chest. This condition is called ectopia cordis and, usually, doctors don’t give many survival chances to the patients who are born with it. Since November, when the baby was born, she underwent three surgeries which got her heart back into her chest.
Ectopia cordis is characterized by the heart outside the chest
Vanellope Hope Wilkins was born at the end of November, and doctors said her chances to survive were slim. It’s not uncommon for babies to suffer heart defects at birth, but this particular condition is rare and severe. One case study also documented a baby born with the heart outside the chest, and could barely survive one hour and a half.
The first documented case of ectopia cordis occurred in 1706, in Spain, but the first person born with the heart outside the chest might have probably been born several thousands of years ago. All case studies had a bad ending and, whenever a child was born this way, doctors knew they had to get ready for the worst.
The condition is hard to survive, but not impossible
It’s not clear why babies are born with ectopia cordis, but the survival chances are extremely slim. If the baby can survive for a month, then the case is a happy one. However, less than five percent of the patients can make it for so long. Another documented case, dating back from 2012, showed how the baby died one day after being born with the heart outside the chest.
Immediately after birth, these newborns need intensive care, which is a lot different than the regular care offered to normal infants. The heart needs to be covered in some special pads with a saline substance, which prevent the body from losing heat and water.
The first successful surgery to put the heart back into the chest occurred in 1975 and, since then, the chances of survival for such babies have gotten bigger. Wilkins is not the first to survive ectopia cordis. Starting with the beginning of 2000s, these babies started surviving for more and more years.
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