A Baby Born With Her Heart Outside Her Body Is Believed to Be the First in U.K. to Survive

Vanellope Hope Wilkins, who was delivered three weeks ago in the English city of Leicester, was born with the extremely rare condition ectopia cordis, the BBC reports.

She is believed to be the first baby with the condition in the U.K. to survive, according to staff at the Glenfield Hospital where she is being treated.

Vanellope’s parents, Naomi Findlay, 31, and Dean Wilkins, 43, from Nottingham, told the BBC they were advised to terminate the pregnancy when ultrasounds showed the baby had no breastplate and her heart was outside her chest.


“The chances of survival were next to none — no-one believed she was going to make it except us,” Wilkins said.

Vanellope, who is named after a character in Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, was due on Christmas Eve but was delivered early in order to minimize the risk of an infection or damage to her heart. She was born by Caesarean section on Nov. 22. Within an hour of being born, a team of 50 medical staff performed the first of three surgeries to put her heart back into her body.

Charitable Foundation Winston Churchill collects money to help the baby and the UK. Donate

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