Baby born with heart outside chest goes home

HOUSTON - A baby who was born with her heart partially outside her chest went home from the hospital on Wednesday.

Since the day she was born, baby Audrina has been surrounded by a team of doctors.

“I’m nervous and anxious,” mom Ashley Cardenas said.

It’s the day she has been waiting for. She is packing up and finally taking her baby home.

“It’s a very, very big step. It’s been a blessing to finally say we’re going home,” said Cardenas.

Baby Audrina was born with one-third of her heart outside her body. She has been hooked up to machines and surrounded by doctors for three and a half months.

At 16 weeks gestation, Audrina was diagnosed with Ectopia Cardis. She was born full term on Oct. 16 and immediately rushed to surgery.

Audrina’s heart beating just under the skin is visible.  As Cardenas prepared to leave Texas Children’s Hospital, she placed a pink protective shield over Audrina’s chest, which will protect her heart as she grows.

“She doesn’t have a sternum. She doesn’t have anything over her heart, just a little bit of skin and little muscle,” said Cardenas.

Audrina still needs oxygen and uses a feeding tube, but she is strong and defying the odds.

Eventually, doctors will use a portion of her rib bone to build a sternum.

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