Texas baby, Audrina Cardenas, goes home after she survives surgery to place heart back in chest

Ashley Cardenas (mom) prepares baby Audrina to leave Texas Children's Hospital. Here she is seen putting on Audrina’s heart shield that will she wear moving forward to protect her heart as she grows. In a few years, Audrina will have surgery to place a more permanent protective shield inside her chest wall.
Ashley Cardenas (mom) prepares baby Audrina to leave Texas Children’s Hospital. Here she is seen putting on Audrina’s heart shield that will she wear moving forward to protect her heart as she grows. In a few years, Audrina will have surgery to place a more permanent protective shield inside her chest wall. Photo Credit: Paul Kuntz, Texas Children’s Hospital

A baby born with a rare congenital disorder was released from a Texas Hospital on Wednesday, Jan.25, 2013.

Audrina Cardenas was born October 15th just a day after her birth, Audrina underwent an extensive surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. According to a press release from the hospital, Audrina was born with a very rare, and often deadly disorder name ectopia cordis. In short, this very rare congenital malformation occurs when the heart is “abnormally located either partially or totally outside the chest.”

Audrina’s mother, Ashley, went in for a routine sonogram 16 weeks into her pregnancy. It was at this point that doctors discovered that the growing baby’s heart was beginning to form outside of her chest.

The release states that Ashley was given three options: early termination (abortion), comfort care – an option that would provide physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual comfort for the terminal infant or a highly risky surgery after she is born.

“After my doctors explained just how sick my baby was and what options I had, it didn’t matter how scared I was, I knew I had to do anything possible to save my daughter’s life,” said Cardenas. “As soon as I made my decision to continue with the pregnancy, the physicians in Midland referred me to Texas Children’s Hospital where a team of miracle workers provided the specialized treatment and care my baby and I both needed.”

Audrina underwent a 6 hour surgery to rebuild her tiny little chest cavity, in an attempt to place the remianing third of her heart back in place.

“This risky operation on such an uncommon condition required specialists from a variety of care teams including cardiovascular surgery, plastic surgery and general pediatric surgery,” said Dr. Charles D. Fraser, surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital and professor of surgery and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). “I have only seen this condition a few times in my career and these are always very tricky cases; in fact, many of these babies do not survive.”

According to the hospital , eight babies out of a million are born with Audrina’s condition and 90 percent of them are either stillborn or die within the first three days of life.

“Our family has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, especially the team at Texas Children’s who saved Audrina’s life,” said Cardenas. “We look forward to the day when Audrina can come home with us and we can be reunited as a family.”

That day came Wednesday.

Baby Audrina beat the odds and is now at home with her mother, bearing a tiny pink scar on her chest.

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