Baby born with heart outside chest survives rare surgeries, first in UK

Baby born with heart outside chest survives rare surgeries, first in UK
Medicine

A British baby born with her heart outside her body is recovering from her third surgery at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

Vanellope Hope Wilkins, who was delivered three weeks ago by caesarean section, was born with the extremely rare condition ectopia cordis, the BBC reported.

Within 50 minutes of birth, the baby born in the English city of Leicester had had three operations to place her heart back in her chest.

She is believed to be the first baby ever in the UK to survive the debilitating condition.

Vanellope’s parents, Naomi Findlay, 31, and Dean Wilkins, 43, told the BBC they were advised to terminate the pregnancy when they found out the baby had no breastplate and her heart was outside her chest from ultrasound results.

“We were advised to have a termination and that the chances of survival were next to none – no-one believed she was going to make it except us,” Dean added.

According to experts, most babies born with this condition do not survive as they have a high risk of infection, although there have been some cases in which surgery has been successful.

The condition is extremely rare, with only a few cases per million births, of which most are stillborn.

About 50 medical staff, including obstetricians, heart surgeons, anaesthetists, neonatologists and midwives, were involved in the high-risk surgeries to put her heart back into the body.

Glenfield Hospital says the baby, who is currently in the pediatric intensive care unit, still faces “a long road ahead” – the major risk being an infection.

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