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Miracle baby with heart outside body delivered safely

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14 Dec 2017

Baby Vanellope Hope has an extremely rare condition, which had her heart growing on the outside of her body

 WARNING: Viewers may find the following content distressing


Her parents, Naomi Findlay, 31, and Dean Wilkins, 43, of Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, were told they were pregnant with Vanellope in June.

Their nine-week scan revealed that their baby’s heart and some of her stomach had begun to grow outside of her body. The rare condition is called ectopia cordis.

She was due to be born Christmas Eve, but her condition meant she had to be born early. A team of 50 staff at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, helped deliver her.

“At around 50 minutes of age, it was felt that Vanellope was stable enough to be transferred back to the main theatre where she had been born to waiting anaesthetists, congenital heart disease and paediatric surgical teams who began the task of putting her entire heart back in her chest,” said consultant neonatologist,  Jonathan Cusack.

Babies born with ectopia cordis are said to have less than a 10% survival rate.

Dean Wilkins, Vanellope’s father commented: “The moment she was born I realised that we had made the right decision. We know this is going to be a rollercoaster and have started to prepare ourselves for the difficult time ahead, but we needed to give her a chance, and the team here have done that.” 

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