Vanellope Hope Wilkins, who had her first surgery within an hour of delivery, is believed to be first baby in UK to survive with the extremely rare condition
A baby girl born with her heart outside her body is believed to be the first in the UK to survive with the extremely rare condition after undergoing three operations, the first within an hour of her birth.
At a nine-week scan, Vanellope Hope Wilkins was discovered to have the condition ectopia cordis, with her heart and part of her stomach growing externally.
Her parents, Naomi Findlay, 31, and Dean Wilkins, 43, of Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, were advised termination was the only option, they said.
But three weeks after her premature birth, by caesarean section on 22 November, Vanellope, who is named after a Disney princess, has survived three operations at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, to move her heart back inside her chest.
Experts, including the consultant cardiologist, have said they do not know of another case in the UK where a baby has survived such a condition.
Describing their emotions on first being told of her chances, Findlay said: I burst into tears. When we did the research, we just couldnt physically look because the condition came with so many problems.
Wilkins said: We still didnt know what we were looking at when we saw the scan, it looked like a little hamster with a hat on.
They decided against termination, preferring to leave it to nature, and worried throughout the whole pregnancy.