One year ago today, baby Audrina Cardenas underwent a six-hour open-heart surgery where a team of heart surgeons, plastic surgeons, and general surgeons put her heart back into her body. She was born with a rare condition called Ectopia Cordis where one-third of her heart was born outside of her body. Only 8 per 1 million babies are born with this rare condition and of those, 90 percent are either stillborn or die within the first three days of life.
After spending three and a half months recovering at Texas Children’s Hospital under the care of the specialist intensive care team, Audrina was discharged but remained close to the hospital so she could be monitored by a team of cardiologists at Texas Children’s Heart Center.
Audrina celebrated her first birthday yesterday. Her team of physicians are thrilled with the progress she has made to date. She has been able to come off all of her medications, although she has remained on oxygen. Her development is improving everyday and she is now crawling and trying to walk.
A team of surgeons is actively planning her next major surgery expected to take place in the next few months to construct a chest wall (something she was not born with) to protect her heart and to repair her cardiac defects associated with the Ectopia Cordis.
Audrina will continue to be carefully followed by a multidisciplinary team and will require specialized care by a pediatric cardiologist for the rest of her life, but her future outlook and prognosis is positive.