A baby girl who was born with her small heart beating outside of her body is now remarkably recovering after a revolutionary surgery saved her life.
Audrina Cardenas was born with a rare congenital disease where her heart formed outside the chest; though the disease affects only one in eight million, 90 percent of infants with the condition are stillborn or die within days of their birth.
But after hours of complicated surgery at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Audrina is recovering, and her mother Ashley couldn’t be more thankful.
Miracle: Audrina Cardenas, who suffers from a rare congenital heart condition that caused her to be born with her heart outside of her body is recovering after surgery
Overjoyed: New mother Ashley Cardenas, center, looks at her daughter Audrina after the successful surgery
Audrina had ectopia cordis, causing her heart to be located outside of the body. Incredible video taken during the surgery shows it beating at a steady pace.
Her mother found out about her daughter’s life-threatening condition at a routine check-up at 16 weeks.
Ms Cardenas said she was given three options, each of them difficult in their own right –abort the baby, carry her to term knowing she would die shortly thereafter, or have doctors construct a hole in her unborn baby’s chest to make room for the heart.
She told the Houston Chronicle that her choice to have her newborn daughter operated on was incredibly difficult. ‘You’ll never know what it feels like to make that decision until you’re faced with it,’ she said.
Modern medicine: Doctors at Texas Children's were able to successfully place the newborn's heart back into her chest during a six-hour surgery
Discovery: The mother first found out about her daughter's potentially-deadly condition during a routine ultrasound at 16 weeks