A Pennsylvania infant has survived after being born with his heart outside of his body, the Daily Mail reported.
Due to a combination of rare heart defects, Ryan Marquiss was born with only half a heart, which was protruding out of his chest cavity, covered only by a thin membrane.
Doctors told his parents chances of survival were low – most babies with the condition are stillborn or die within three days. After more than a dozen surgeries however, Ryan pulled through and is about to celebrate his third birthday.
According to the Daily Mail, the doctors discovered the defect, called ectopia cordis, which caused Ryan’s heart to develop outside his body when Ryan’s mother was just 12 weeks pregnant and advised her to terminate the pregnancy, though she and her husband refused.
In addition, Ryan also suffered from hypoplastic right heart syndrome, where only the left side developed properly.
‘We wanted to let nature take its course, so we refused to have the termination,” Ryan’s mother told the Daily Mail. “We knew it would be a miracle if he survived the birth but we were unwilling to take matters into our own hands.”
“The doctors told us that no baby with Ryan’s combination of defects had ever survived, so the fact that he is here with us today, is just amazing,” she added. “He really has astounded everyone.”