A baby, Vanellope Hope Wilkins, born with her heart outside her body has survived surgery to insert it back into her chest, CNN has reported.
The baby who now three weeks old, was delivered by a team of 50 medical professionals at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, UK, on November 22.
She was born with ectopia cordis, a rare congenital condition causing her heart to grow outside her body.
To correct the condition the team of surgeons put the baby girl through three intensive surgeries to put her heart inside her chest. She is now recovering under strict medical watch.
Naomi Findlay, Vanellope’s mother, said she had prepared her mind that anything could happen, and that was how she could cope with feelings that came with the situation.
“I had prepared myself for the worst; that was my way of dealing with it. I had brought an outfit to hospital that she could wear if she died,” Vanellope’s mother said in a statement on Tuesday.”I genuinely didn’t think my baby would survive, but the staff at Glenfield have been amazing.”
Dr. Frances Bu’Lock, consultant in pediatric cardiology at Glenfield Hospital said, “I deal with babies with heart problems all the time, some of them very complicated.
“This is only the second case in 30 years that I’ve seen this particular condition, it’s extremely rare,” she said. “Vanellope is the first baby to survive this operation in the UK.”
The condition was first discovered at nine weeks of pregnancy after an ultrasound scan showed that the heart and bowels were growing outside the body. Another scan at 16 weeks showed that the bowel had gone back inside but the heart did not.
Four teams of doctors at Glenfield — which is part of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) — were scheduled to deliver the baby on November 22 by caesarean section to reduce the risk of infection as well as the risk of injuring the infant’s heart.
After birth, Vanellope was placed in a sterile plastic bag to reduce infection risk to her heart and keep exposed tissues moist.
“Vanellope was born in good condition. She cried at birth and coped well with the early stabilization and her heart continued to beat effectively,” said Glenfield Consultant Neonatologist Jonathan Cusack.
“At around 50 minutes of age, it was felt that Vanellope was stable enough to be transferred back to the main theatre where she had been born to the waiting anaesthetists, congenital heart disease and pediatric surgical teams who began the task of putting her entire heart back inside her chest,” he said.