A Texas woman received tragic news 16 weeks into her pregnancy: An ultrasound showed that her fetus was developing with a rare heart malformation that almost always proves fatal.
"I was devastated,” Ashley Cardenas told TODAY’s Janet Shamlian. “I didn’t really understand what they meant by her heart was on the outside of her body.”
Rather than terminate her pregnancy, Cardenas opted for a risky operation once she gave birth. Her daughter, Audrina, was born in October with ectopia cordis, a condition in which all or part of the heart is outside of the chest.
On Audrina’s second day of life, a team of 11 doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston spent six hours performing a life-saving, open-heart surgery to make room in her chest for the one-third of her heart that was outside of her body.
“The actual chest cavity doesn’t form in its proper dimension, so you can’t just put the heart back in there and close the door,” said Dr. Charles Fraser, a heart surgeon at Texas Children’s.
There is much more to this story from NBC News, to read about it CLICK HERE.