First Boy In The World To Survive With Heart Outside of His Body
Ryan Marquiss is truly a miracle boy, and one of the most amazing cases in medical history: he’s the first baby in the world to survive a birth malformation which is incompatible with life.
Baby Ryan was born in 2009 with one of the rarest heart malformations in the world, instead of growing inside his chest, this little boy’s heart had developed outside of his body and when he was born, half of his heart was on the outside, being covered only by a thin piece of soft tissue. His condition is named ectopia cordis, and all of the other kids born with this malformation died within 3 days of birth.
Despite the fact that all odds were against him, this amazing little boy struggled to survive, and won the battle with death. And as if the fact that his heart was beating outside of his chest cavity wasn’t life threatening enough, baby Ryan also had only half of heart, due to the fact that inside the womb, it couldn’t develop well enough. The second defect is calleld hypoplastic right heart syndrome, where only the left side of the heart had developed accordingly.
You may be wondering how was i possible for the baby to even be delivered in this day and age when all of the medical equipment and investigations can detect malformations from early stages of the pregnancies. Well, modern medicine did its work and picked up on the fact that Leighann and Henry Marquiss’ baby has a very rare condition which will most likely lead to a stillborn baby, but against all medical advices, the parents decided not to terminate the pregnancy.
The probably had a feeling that little Ryan was a fighter. Their gamble paid off cause this year, Ryan Marquiss is celebrating his third birthday and he’s a very enthusiastic child, full of life who acts just like any other child his age.
Dr Mary Donofrio, Director of the fetal heart programme at the Children’s National Medical Centre told the family that: “If he survived the birth his exposed heart likely would become infected and kill him. Even if infection didn’t happen his heart had one working ventricle and he would require open heart surgery to rewire the blood flow through it.”
Luckily, after undergoing dozens of operations, Ryan Marquiss didn’t catch any infection, and survived absolutely every single surgical intervention, proving to everyone that the miracle of life is one of the most amazing gifts of all.
Now, Ryan enjoys his life and loves playing with his two big sisters. Of course, his life threatening condition did leave him with a few complications. The doctors operated on him to “fix the wirings” in his heart, and make the left side viable again. After that was out of the way, other surgeries were required to expand his skin tissue in order to create a proper covering for the exposed heart. At the present time, Ryan still needs surgery for inserting some sort of chest protection. Also in the feature, the little kiddo may need heart surgery, but for now, he’s progressing really well.
For a baby who had all odds against him, and everyone was expecting him to die, Ryan Marquiss proved that life is worth fighting for. This amazing medical case should be a lesson to all of us: even if everyone around you says that it’s impossible, you have to believe in yourselves and hope for the best.
Here’s a little video to show you how Ryan’s heart beat outside his chest. Amazing indeed!
So what exactly is “ectopia cordis”?
Ectopia cordis is a congenital malformation in which the heart grown outside of its normal cavity, either partially or totally outside the chest cavity. The heart can either grow in the neck, chest, or abdomen, and in most cases, the heart protrudes outside the chest being covered only by a fine membrane. During the embryonic development period, in which basically, the heart fails to migrate to its anatomical position, and the rest of the body develops around the heart, trapping it outside the body.
Out of every million infants born with the condition, but up until now, only a few amazing babies survived.
Below you can watch some more videos with babies suffering from an ectopic heart. Sadly, they died soon after birth. Please be advised that these clips are not for the faint of heart. Watch them only if you are sure you want to see them.
Are you wondering what Ryan’s chances are for future survival?
Well, he’s got a pretty good chance. Another amazing case of ectopia cordis is that of Christopher Wall, who was born in 1975 with a less severe form of this heart defect.
Cris’ mother, Teresa Wall, was enjoying the joys of pregnancy not knowing a thing about the dreadful moment when her baby boy would be born with this ruthless defect. The mother recalls that “Everyone was all joking and laughing and the doctors and nurses teased me, asking, This is your first baby?” But all of the fun came to a haul when doctors delivered Christopher Aug. 10, 1975. “It was like a cloud of doom came over,” Teresa said, “Christopher was born and everything got really quiet, really quiet. The nurses started hustling around.”
Back then, pregnant women did not have to get ultrasounds during their pregnancy, so the malformation went by unobserved, as soon as he was born, the baby was rushed in to the operating room and checked for more abnormalities.
Due to the fact that the heart had been developing outside the chest, there was no room for this vital organ on the inside. Operating him was even more difficult that expected due to all of the blood vessels, which made it impossible to insert the heart back in. Nevertheless, baby Chris surprised everyone by surviving the first weeks of his life and fighting for his life.
During the first 15 months of his life, Chris underwent 15 surgeries in order to insert the heart back in. Amazingly, the surgeries were a success and Christopher Wall was able to go on living like any other normal child. You can watch an interview with him and his friends below.
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