Baby born with heart outside her body survives surgery in United Kingdom first

15 December, 2017, 02:01 | Author: Darrell Lopez
  • Ignored advice Parents Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins are overjoyed

The condition, ectopia cordis, was discovered during a scan nine weeks into the pregnancy.

The baby girl is showing good signs of recovery.

The surgery to relocate her heart was said to be the first successful procedure of its kind performed on a newborn child in Britain, although a few comparable cases have been reported in the United States. "I had brought an outfit to hospital that she could wear if she died", said Naomi Findlay, Vanellope's mother, in a statement on Tuesday.

"This is only the second case in 30 years that I've seen this particular condition, it's extremely rare", she said.

When Ms Findlay reached her 36th week of pregnancy, the decision was taken to conduct the caesarean, and 9.50am on November 22 Vanellope was born.

Dean told me: "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".

Vanellope will have to go through further surgery at a later stage.

A team of around 50 staff got together from around 8am with specialised equipment, before a theatre briefing at 8.30am. "The bag keeps the organs sterile but also keeps the tissues moist".

The baby was then taken into an adjoining anaesthetic room where senior neonatal specialists inserted a breathing tube and drips, and then anaesthetised her.

"At around 50 minutes of age, it was felt that Vanellope was stable enough to be transferred back to the main theater where she had been born to the waiting anesthetists, congenital heart disease and pediatric surgical teams who began the task of putting her entire heart back inside her chest", he said".

The hospital's paediatric cardiologist Frances Bu'Lock said that Vanellope was "lucky" in a way, because she had a "structurally normal heart which most of these babies don't have".

"Absolutely attractive. If you saw her when she was first born, to where she is now and what they've done." said Naomi.

Newborns normally have an indent on their left lung which creates space for the heart to fit in but Vanellope did not have this. Sometimes the bowel is outside the body as well, she's not had any of those problems.

Surgeons had created a mesh which protected the heart as she did not have ribs or a sternum.

The couple said the baby was named after a character in the Disney film, Wreck It Ralph.

Naomi said: "Vanellope in the film is a real fighter and at the end turns into a princess so we thought it was fitting".

Only eight in 1 million babies are born with ectopia cordis.

A baby born with her heart outside her body last month had less than a 10% chance of survival, and she's beat the odds. It was only after that the final operation took place where skin from under her arms was moved cover the portion around her heart.


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