Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Baby girl born with heart outside her body survives in UK

A nine-week scan showed Vanellope Hope Wilkins to suffer from an extremely rare heart condition A nine-week scan showed Vanellope Hope Wilkins to suffer from an extremely rare heart condition
Rosie Leonard | 15 December, 2017, 06:16

Only eight per one million babies are born with ectopia cordis.

Vanellope Hope was expected to be born on Christmas Eve, but the discovery of the condition called Ectopia cordis meant her birth had to be brought forward.

They carefully stretched apart a tuppence-sized chest hole to create more space for the heart, and installed a protective membrane over the beating organ.

Glenfield Hospital says it doesn't know of any other babies in the United Kingdom who have survived the condition. Doctors advised Naomi Findlay, of Nottingham, England, to abort her unborn daughter after they said Vanellope had "next to zero" chance of survival.

The couple paid for a blood test which appeared there were no chromosomal variations from the norm and that made them resolved to proceed with the pregnancy. Her parents, Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins, discovered the news at a nine-week scan and were told a termination was their only option, the Guardian reported.

According to the Independent, consultant neonatologist Jonathan Cusack said: "At around 50 minutes of age, it was felt that Vanellope was stable enough to be transferred back to the main theatre where she had been born to the waiting anaesthetists, congenital heart disease and paediatric surgical teams who began the task of putting her entire heart back inside her chest". She has already had three operations to place her heart back in her chest, but has a long way to go.

Frances Bu'Lock, specialist pediatric cardiologist, stated: "Before she was conceived things looked extremely hopeless yet now they are a considerable amount better - Vanellope is doing extremely well and has demonstrated exceptionally versatile".

"In the future we may be able to put in some internal bony protection for her heart - perhaps using 3D printing or something organic that would grow with her".

Vanellope Wilkins heart operation
Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester with their daughter

Several children are known to have survived the surgery in the US, including Audrina Cardenas who was born in Texas in November 2012.

Vanellope still is recovering in the hospital, but her doctors said her chances of survival are growing every day.

Glenfield Hospital says Vanellope still faces "a lengthy, hard experience ahead" - the significant hazard being contamination.

The next step is to take her off a ventilator, which is being used to aid her recovery from surgery.

Vanellope's unusual name was inspired by a character in the Disney film "Wreck-It Ralph", said mother Naomi.

Dean Wilkins said: "She defying everything - it's beyond a miracle".

Naomi stated: "Vanellope in the film is a genuine contender and toward the end transforms into a princess so we thought it was fitting".

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