Turin, a girl born with a heart outside her chest (ectopia cordis) – Chronicle


Turin, 27 May 2020 – A dramatic story, a birth however exceptional that completed in Turin. A baby girl suffering from Ectopia cordis, rare congenital anomaly in which the heart is located outside the chest, was born in the City of Health in Turin. Childbirth at week 38: only the head has been extracted from the uterus, so as to allow the baby to receive oxygen from the placental circle. The heart and part of the liver, outside the chest because without the sternum, have been protected by suturing the skin at the margins. Another intervention was then necessary to remove a tumor from the oral cavity that would have prevented her from breathing.

A chance for the little girl

A week after birth, the baby is hospitalized and taken Resuscitation pediatric in stable conditions. Next to her parents, Indian dad and Italian mom, who after one first ultrasound performed in India, they turned to the specialists of the Regina Margherita Children’s Hospital in Turin, to give their daughter a chance to live. When they returned to Italy, they were taken over by the antenatal diagnostic service of the Sant’Anna hospital (Dr. Andrea Sciarrone).

Exit procedure

The birth at the 38th week was therefore planned by applying the so-called ‘Exit procedure’, a particular cesarean delivery, during which the fetus’s only head with the voluminous mass of several centimeters protruding from the mouth was extracted from the maternal uterus, so as to allow the baby to continue receiving oxygen from the placental circle for the time necessary for surgeons and pediatric resuscitators to be able to intubate and do it
to breathe. Only at this point was the newborn able to be born safely.

The busy doctors

This exceptional situation, organized in operating block of Regina Margherita, coordinated by the doctor Simona Quaglia, with the fundamental contribution of the nursing staff coordinated by Roberta Gualandi, saw the perfect coordination of all the specialists involved: the obstetric gynecological and anesthesiological team led by the head of Obstetrics and Gynecology doctor Saverio Danese, the neonatologist doctor Mauro Vivalda hospital neonatal intensive care directed by doctor Daniele Farina, the pediatric surgical and anesthesiological group, composed by the head of Otolaryngology Dr. Paolo Tavormina, by the Director of Pediatric Surgery dr Fabrizio Gennari, to the doctor Sergio Grassitelli and the doctor Valeria Mossetti of Pediatric Anesthesia and Resuscitation of the Department of Pathology and Child Care Regina Margherita directed by the teacher Franca Fagioli. Oral cavity surgery was performed by Dr. Ernesto Pepe, head of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, and by Dr. Fabrizio Gennari.

The girl will now continue her cardiology and cardiac surgery course under the direction of the doctor Gabriella Agnoletti, Director of Pediatric Cardiology, and of the learnedr Carlo Pace Napoleon, Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, and will need further interventions over time

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