Editor's note: some video and images below might be considered graphic.
The mother of Audrina Cardenes has know since an ultrasound at 16 weeks that her daughter would be born with a rare condition where her heart was outside of her body. Her chances of survival were slim. But doctors announced Tuesday that Audrina is doing well after a life-saving surgery.
Although only five weeks old at this point, Audrina wearing a pink-bowed hat with several tubes and sensors strapped to her mouth and body smiles in a picture.
Dr. Charles Fraser, Jr.,the Surgeon-in-Chief at Texas Children's Hospital where Audrina was born, wrote on the hospital's blog that eight in every 1 million babies born have the condition formally called "ectopia cordis." Of those, 90 percent are stillborn or don't make it past three days of life.
After finding out about Audrina's condition, her mother opted for surgery, rather than terminating the pregnancy or selecting comfort care, which Fraser wrote were offered to her as options.
Aurdrina's heart pictured outside of her body before surgery. (Image: TexasChildrensblog)
After Audrina was born, the doctors saw more clearly that one-third of her heart developed outside her chest cavity. Watch the video of Audrina's heart beating outside her body (Warning: Some might consider the beating heart graphic):
Watch Fraser and other doctors describe the condition and the surgery:
The Houston Chronicle reported Fraser saying that in the surgery they created more space in her chest for the rest of her heart, and now that it's been put into place under skin a bulge can't even been seen.
Fraser continued that even though Audrina has made it through the tricky surgery and seems to be "thriving," the future is uncertain. Still, he said in the video that they're "very optimistic."
"[...] Audrina is a true fighter and we are hopeful that she will continue to progress," Fraser wrote. "I am also hopeful that Audrina’s case marks the beginning or our ability to care for more children diagnosed with ectopia cordis in the future."
(H/T: Daily Mail)