Doctors in China are battling to save a two-month-old baby who was born with his heart growing on the outside of his body.
Tiny Xin Xin has only a thin membrane covering his heart which can be clearly seen beating outside his stomach.
The baby’s parents brought him to Xin Qiao Hospital, in Chongqing, and surgeons are now working out how best to treat him.
Doctor Zhang Yuping, vice director of hospital’s paediatrics department, said:
“It’s a very rare case. His heart is so exposed that the slightest knock or contact could be fatal.”
The baby’s parents are migrant workers in Tengchong County, Yunnan Province, who rushed back home to seek medical help after their baby was born.
“We didn’t believe it when doctors told us the black patch on our son’s belly was his heart until we saw it beating,” said the father, Luo Rongyun.
Xin Xin’s fragile state is making it hard for surgeons to plan how best to treat him.
The baby’s nurse, Luo Wen said:
“We have to be very careful in taking care of the baby, as any movement could squeeze the heart.”
The medical team now plans to wait until he is three months old when most of his organs will have developed more and he should be strong enough for surgery.
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