Audrena Cardenas was born into this world with a very rare condition known as Ectopia Cordis, in which the heart develops outside the chest cavity. Her mother, Ashley, learned of this condition when she was in just her 16th week of pregnancy.



Audrena was born with a rare, and usually fatal condition called Ectopia Cordis. A condition where the heart is literally outside the chest, or body. It is estimated that 8 in every 1 million babies are born with this condition, and 90% of them are stillborn, or usually die within the first 72 hours after birth.


Once Audrena was born, the doctors immediately performed open heart surgery on her to create a new chest cavity for her heart, using skin from elsewhere on her body. Audrena, remarkably, responded very well to the procedure and quickly began to stabilize.


Ms Cardenas was given three difficult options – abort the baby, carry her to term knowing she would die, or have doctors to construct a hole in her baby’s chest shortly after birth in an attempt to make room for the heart.