Friday, March 14, 2014

Ectopia Cordis: Heart Outside of the Body


Ectopia cordis is a condition where the entire heart forms outside of the chest cavity. Sometimes the heart can be seen beating outside the chest, other times, the heart is just beneath this skin as shown below. This rare condition occurs in about 5-7 per one million births with a very high mortality rate of about 50-60%

A patient with ectopia cordis, courtesy of the
A 29 second video showing a newborn with ectopia cordis

There are no recognizable causes for ectopia cordis. Some have linked Turner syndrome or having an additional chromosome on chromosome 18. The only treatment option available for individuals born with ectopia cordis is surgery and even that can pose as a tricky task as these individuals are typically born with other heart abnormalities.

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