Ectopia cordis is a rare fatal congenital condition in which the heart can grow completely or partially outside the chest cavity. A majority of babies born with this condition are either stillborn or die after a few days from birth. After three intensive surgeries to put place heart inside her chest, Vanellope Hope Wilkins who is now three weeks is on a road to recovery.
‘Ectopia cordis is a heart abnormality that causes the heart to form partially or wholly outside the chest cavity.’
"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," said Naomi Findlay, the mother of baby girl. She was also shown to have expressed her highest gratitude to hospital staff at the Glenfield hospital.
Dr. Frances Bu'Lock who has previously dealt with a case like this 30- years ago said that Vanellope was the first baby to survive this operation in the UK.
Vanellope's parents were initially alerted by an ultrasound that was conducted after the first nine weeks of pregnancy. The ultrasound stated the baby condition to be critical as her heart and a part of stomach was growing outside her body.
Another ultrasound sixteen weeks later, informed them of her first improvement, her stomach had gone back inside and a blood test later on also uplifted their hope for her survival as she was tested negative for chromosomal abnormalities.
In order to reduce the risk of infection and injury to the fetal heart, a team of four doctors at the Glenfield hospital had delivered Vanellope on November 22.
Right after birth, she was placed in sterile plastic bag to avoid infection and keep the tissues moist. She was delivered without a complication with a small cry at the end of the delivery.
Dr. Jonathan Cusack, a Neonatologist at the Glenfield hospital also exclaimed that after 50 minutes of age, she was stable enough to be transferred to the main theater to undergo the main surgery.
According to Dr. Bu'Lock, the leading surgeon explained how lucky was Vanellope's as babies with ectopia cordis condition are usually born with various heart defects.
Ectopia cordis, is condition that occurs at the early stages of life, it causes the heart to form either partially or wholly outside. It is usually accompanied by a congenital disease or other associated defects which decreases the chances of survival.