Many prayers are needed for an African baby named Ashleigh Louw. This amazing baby was born last Saturday with a rare heart condition known as pentalogy of Fallot ectopia cordis and omphalocele, meaning that she was born with her heart outside of her body. Normally this can be fixed, but in Ashleigh’s case her heart has holes and is protruding from her chest because half of her rib cage did not develop.
A team of doctors, who have been assessing her since the day she was born, are consulting specialists from other hospitals and debating whether surgery is the best option.
Professor Sithembiso Velapi said Ashleigh’s condition was complicated but added they were remaining optimistic.
“We’re quite concerned, because of the complexity, but we are optimistic that there will be a chance for this child.”
For now, the newborn has been moved from the intensive care unit to the high care unit of the Chris Hani- Baragwanath Hospital.
Her mother, Anastacia Louw, said she was praying for doctors to find a way to help Ashleigh, who is the first baby to be born with this condition in South Africa.
A few similar cases have been recorded in China and India.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Chris Wall, who was born in 1975 in Philadelphia, US, is the longest surviving person with the same condition.
The heart condition affects one in a million babies and has an estimated survival rate of 50 percent.
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