Baby Born With Heart On Outside Of Her Chest Proves To Be A Miracle

A six month old baby is proving to be a living miracle after she was born with her heart on the outside of her body. INSIDE EDITION spoke to the baby's mother and doctor about this rare condition.

Newborn baby Audrina had to be fitted with special body amore, a shield to protect her tiny heart. She was actually born with her heart beating outside her body.

Ashley Cardenas was 16 weeks pregnant when an ultra sound revealed her baby would be born with her heart fully exposed so, Dr. Charles Fraser and his surgical team were ready when she was born.

Ashley was stunned when she heard the news. She said, “How does this happen? Like what do you mean her heart is on the outside of her body? Its very hard.”

The operation was very delicate. Basically it meant implanting Audrina's heart back into her body and covering it with a thin layer of skin.

Dr. Fraser said, “The surgery went really well, she seemed tolerate it well.”

Babies that survive this rare surgery often die within three days. But Audrina defied the odds. In the ICU, she opened her eyes and looked adoringly at her mom.

Ashley said, “She is a miracle, she is, she's proved everybody wrong.”

Two month's later, Audrina was fitted with that special shield and she was discharged from Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.  

INSIDE EDITION asked Ashley how she felt. She said, “Very blessed, very excited, very thankful.”

So how is baby Audrina doing today?

She is a bright eyed beaming six month old bundle of joy.

Ashley and her baby are living, for now, in a small Houston hotel room to be near Texas Children's Hospital.

Her heart is beating underneath that small layer of skin. Doctors will eventually use Audrina's own ribs to build a chest wall.

Mom says daily life for her little girl who was born with her heart outside her body requires extra care.

Audrina is fed though a feeding tube and Ashley has been trained to use a stethoscope.

Getting ready for a stroll in the park takes extra precautions. Mom puts her protective shield in place, and prepares a portable oxygen tank. The baby smiled at the sun warming her little face.

A baby girl who came through so much is showing a fighting spirit beating in her little heart.

Ashley said, “I know whatever she puts her mind to, she'll be able to do. She’s a strong fighter.”