DELHI – A baby was born last week in India’s Bihar state, with the rare condition of his heart sitting outside his body.
Vibha Devi was born last Thursday in a small rural village, but then rushed to Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences due to his condition. The boy suffers from ectopia cordis, a birth defect where the heart is abnormally located in the abdominal cavity or neck, or completely outside on the chest.
The condition is usually fatal within the first day of birth, but doctors believe Vibha may have a fighting chance. “He is stable and is being treated for infection. Once the infection goes, we will do the surgery,” said Dr A.K. Bisoi, a cardiologist at the Institute. “His parents are lucky the baby is still alive even after infection as it has spread to all body parts. We are trying our best to save the baby.”
Once the infection is gone, the doctors will begin a succession of surgeries, to create a cavity for the heart to be moved into. These procedures are lengthy, and patients often do not survive the full process.
Christopher Wall, now 34 years old, is the oldest living person to have ever survived ectopia cordis. By the time he was two years old, he had undergone over 15 surgeries, but doctors were unable to create a full cavity for his heart, for fear of fatal strain on the heart’s blood vessels. They ultimately settled on covering his heart with skin and a lightweight plastic breast plate, which has kept him alive to this day.
It is hoped baby Vibha will receive such a blessing, but it will be months before his fate will be sure.

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