Baby Born With Heart Outside Of Her Chest Continues To Defy The Odds

A year after being born with her heart outside of her chest, baby Audrey continues to defy doctors with her medical miracle. INSIDE EDITION has her story.

One mom treasures every moment with her little girl who is truly a miracle. When her daughter, Audrey, was born, she had to be raced from the delivery room to the O.R.

The mother, Ashley, told INSIDE EDITION, “It was the most terrifying news any mother would ever hear. Her heart was outside of her body.”

Audrey's tiny heart was beating outside her body. Doctor's didn't expect her to survive, but today, Audrey is thriving.

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Dr. Charles Fraser and a team of surgeons at Texas Children's Hospital faced a daunting task.
Dr. Fraser said, “To try to come up with a treatment strategy that will save her life.”

The operation was very delicate, and involved implanting Audrey’s heart back into her body. Reconstructive surgeon Dr. Larry Hollier stepped in to cover it with a thin layer of skin. He said, “It’s almost uniformly fatal shortly after birth.”

But Audrey defied the odds. In the I.C.U. she opened her eyes and looked adoringly at her mom.

INSIDE EDITION first met baby Audrey when she was six months old.  She was fed through a feeding tube and her mom, Ashley, was trained to use a stethoscope.

INSIDE EDITION’s Victora Recano asked, “So, you really are Dr. Mom?”

Ashley said, “I had a lot to learn.”

Getting ready for a stroll in the park required extra precautions, including body armor. Ashley put a shield in place to protect her baby's heart.  

Now, just look at what a difference a year makes. At 18 months old, Audrey is a typical rambunctious toddler exploring the world around her or at least as far as the breathing tube she needs for oxygen will allow her to run.

Ashley said, “This cord is about 60 feet.”

Audrey has outgrown her first heart shield and now is being fitted with a bigger one. Audrey faces more medical challenges but everywhere she goes, her spirit touches hearts.

Dr. Fraser said, “She is a terrific child, developmentally right on par.”

Doctors are now working with engineers to develop a permanent internal chest plate.

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

Ashley said, “To be able to see her run, and walk and talk, I am very proud, very blessed."