A Texas baby born with part of her heart outside her body defies the odds and leaves hospital following a successful surgery.
HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 23, 2013) (TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL) - Surrounded by doctors since they day she was born with a heart defect, a three month old Texas baby finally got to leave hospital on Wednesday (January 23) and head home following a successful surgery.
Baby Audrina was born with one third of her heart outside of her body - a rare and often fatal heart condition known as ectopia cordis that was discovered when her mother, 25-year old Ashley Cardenas, was 16 weeks pregnant.
Barely a day after her birth on October 15, baby Audrina was hooked up to hospital machines for an open heart surgery.
Doctors at the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston operated for 6 hours on the newborn, creating a cavity to fit her tiny, beating heart and then covering it with skin from other parts of her body.
Three months later, baby Audrina is thriving and making progress every day. Doctors say they hope to to perform reconstructive surgery to give her a sternum when she's older.
"They will actually take part of her rib bones to perform some type of protection over her heart that will eventually grow with her but all that depends on how big and strong she grows before they'll decide on doing surgery, plastic surgery for that," Cardenas said.
For now, baby Audrina must wear a protective shield around her chest that will protect her heart as she continues to grow.
Only eight per one million babies are born with ectopia cordis.
Of those eight, 90 percent are either stillborn or die within the first three days of life -- heavy odds that were defied by three-month old Audrina.