Houston – A Texas family is grateful for a Thanksgiving miracle this year.
Their baby girl, Audrina Cardenas, was born with a rare congenital abnormality, called ectopia cordis, in which the heart is located partially or totally outside the chest.
Only eight in every 1 million babies are born with it and 90 percent of those do not survive.
Thanks to early diagnosis and the quick action of a team of medical specialists in the Texas Medical Center, little Audrina lived to see her first Thanksgiving holiday.
“It’s amazing! You know, every day I thank God, you know, for her, for her being here,” said Ashley Cardenas, Audrina’s mom.
Audrina was diagnosed at 16 weeks gestational age.
Cardenas and her family live in Odessa and their physician referred them to Texas Children’s Hospital, where a team of specialists came up with a plan to save her baby.
“It’s really strange I have to say, and I’ve looked at a lot of hearts! In Audrina’s case, the tip of the heart is turned up…so what you’re actually seeing is about a third of each ventricle is outside, which is a significant part of the heart,” said TCH Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser.