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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 9 August, 2020

Baby girl born with heart outside her chest survives three surgeries

Baby Vanellope is thought to be the first baby in the UK to survive corrective surgery for the rare condition.

Baby heart Source: Leicester Hospitals

Warning: This article contains graphic imagery of an infant.

A BABY IN the UK has survived three surgeries after being born with her heart outside of her chest, in what is believed to be a UK first.

Baby Vanellope was diagnosed with Ectopia cordis, a rare condition that means the baby is born with a hole in her chest and her heart is outside of her body.

Vanellope was due to be delivered on Christmas Eve, but was born prematurely by caesarean section on 22 November because of the condition.

The three-week-old baby has undergone three surgeries at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and survived, which the hospital believes is the first UK baby to do so.

Baby heart 2 Source: Leicester Hospitals/Twitter

According to the BBC, the baby’s parents were informed of the condition 16 weeks into the pregnancy, and were advised to terminate it.

The baby’s parents told the BBC of how they reacted as they waited for news of whether their baby’s surgery was successful.

“We were just staring at each other because we didn’t want to be told what was happening while it was happening,” the baby’s dad Dean said.

But as soon as we heard her cry, that was it. We just had a little cry.

“It’s like we held our breath through it all for her,” her mother said.

Vanellope Wilkins heart operation Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins at Glenfield Hospital with their daughter. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Vanellope will have to go through further surgery at a later stage.

The hospital’s paediatric cardiologist Frances Bu’Lock said that Vanellope was “lucky” in a way, because she had a “structurally normal heart which most of these babies don’t have”.

She didn’t have any other abnormalities with chromosomes. Sometimes the bowel is outside the body as well, she’s not had any of those problems.

“But she’s also proved very resilient and she’s had a great team to support her.”

Her parents explained that she was named after a character in the animated film Wreck-It Ralph who was a “glitch”. They said the name fit perfectly because their daughter’s condition was like a glitch “it wasn’t real and it could be fixed”.

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