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An infant born with her heart outside her chest has survived after a series of successful surgeries in the United Kingdom.
Vanellope / vænˈnɛl ə pi / Hope Wilkins miraculously lived after being born with a rare condition called ectopia cordis / ɛkˈtoʊ pi ə ˈkɔr dɪs /, an unusual birth disorder that causes the heart to grow partially or wholly outside the chest.
Records show that around 90% of babies born with the condition either come out stillborn or die soon after their birth. Meanwhile, those who survive are usually able to do so because they do not have any other complications.
Vanellope’s parents learned of their daughter’s rare condition before she was born. Her mother underwent an ultrasound scan, and doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy upon discovering the child’s condition. They warned that the baby’s chances of survival were next to nothing.
However, Vanellope’s parents decided to push through with pregnancy. They were hopeful because a series of tests revealed that, apart from her heart condition, their baby was healthy and had low risk of any other abnormalities.
On the day of her birth, Vanellope was successfully delivered by a team of 50 medical professionals. They used caesarian section to lessen the risk of infection to her heart. Afterwards, Vanellope went through three intensive medical procedures to put her heart back inside her chest. The challenge in the procedure lies in the difficulty of placing the heart back in the chest among her other organs.
Now, through the success of the operations, Vanellope adds to the few babies known to have survived this rare condition. Two other documented survivors are from the United States, and both are currently doing well.