It’s a rare, usually fatal, congenital disorder known as “ectopia cordis” where the heart is abnormally located either partially or totally outside the chest. One in eight million is born with this condition and 90% are either stillborn or die within the first three days of life.
So, little Audrina is one lucky baby among unlucky ones – she’s recovering well after having her heart put where it belongs. One day after Audrina was born, a multidisciplinary team of surgeons at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston reconstructed her chest cavity to make space for the one-third of her heart that was outside of her body during a six-hour open-heart surgery.
Audrina’s mother, Ashley Cardenas, learned of her baby’s condition when she was 16 weeks pregnant. She was told that the survival rates for this rare condition were very low, and if the baby did survive, doctors couldn’t predict what kind of life the little one would have.
Ashley decided to carry on with the pregnancy and little Audrina decided to defy the odds.
And now, little Audrina, with a pink protective shell secured to her body, is at home, being finally released from the hospital on January 23, 2013.