This precious child is a bona fide miracle. Turning 3 years old in a few months, Audrina Cardenas is a survivor and a scientific phenomena defying odds.
Born with an extremely rare heart condition called Ectopia Cordis, one-third of Audrina’s heart was literally outside of her chest; beating outside of her body.
It is estimated that 8 in every million babies have this condition; an overwhelming 90% of them are stillborn and normally perish within three days of birth — but not this baby who is truly a miracle.
Doctors had to perform surgery, which reportedly took six hours, on her heart right after birth, and as reported on Daily Mail, the doctors had a big challenge in their hands as they had to successfully place the newborn’s heart back into her chest.
‘Once the cardiac surgeons were finished operating on Audrina, the plastic surgery team played a pivotal role in completing this surgery as we were responsible for covering her heart beneath her skin and muscle’; as shared by Dr Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
She was three-and-a-half months old when she was discharged from the hospital; after the medical team declared her as “doing very well”. She was taken home by her mother Ashley in April of 2013; carefully encased in a pink plastic shield to protect her heart from injury.
But the infant still has a long journey ahead of her as surgeons have disclosed she’ll need more surgeries in the coming years to repair defects in her heart. Audrina has yet to heal and gain strength before any other procedures could be done on her.
She is slated to gradually undergo more additional surgery to make a sternum; the bone plate which encloses the heart.
As it is, Audrina has to be under a cardiologist’s care for the rest of her life, but doctors said the prognosis on the baby is good, because despite her misplaced heart, “she was born with no other syndromes or genetic conditions that would cause additional stress or complications on her heart,” said a pediatric cardiologist at the hospital in a release in 2013.
Her first birthday was much hailed especially by the gifted medical team at the Texas Childrens’ Hospital who were instrumental in saving her life.
The station ABC 13, in its commitment to help save lives, partnered with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center for its annual blood drive last spring.
Reports say that about 1,000 blood donations are needed daily in the Texas Gulf Coast region, and as such, every donation helps save as many as three lives — including the likes of miracle baby Audrina.
The lovely toddler went through a second heart surgery in December 2014 and was reported to be doing well, and no longer needs oxygen as she can now breathe on her own, as shared by IBC13.
Her mom, Ashley, supports the blood drive and brought the cheerful Audrina with her on the event as per her Twitter post.
Let’s take a look at the miracle baby’s past and marvel at her mom’s strength and courage, too:
Almost a year after: