Offbeat Video
heart pumping outside chest

Taniya Dutta

A baby girl in India has been born with her heart pumping outside her chest.

Prem Kumari, 22, gave natural birth to her first born at a primary health care centre in Khajuraho in central India on April 5.

But the child, named Hemlata, was born with the rare condition called Ectopia Cordis in which the heart is either located partially or totally outside the chest.

This rare medical condition occurs in eight children per million births.

She is now awaiting surgery after the government stepped in to provide medical assistance.

Father Arvind Patel, 24, who works as a guard at a world heritage site in Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh said the couple were devastated with the birth of their child despite his wife taking regular medicines and undergoing ultrasound throughout pregnancy.

“After my marriage to Prem Kumari, all my family was happy when we were having our first child. On April 5 around 3.26 am, my wife gave birth to the girl child but the baby was having her heart outside.

“We were shocked as we had never seen a child like this before. The doctor referred us to a district hospital but the doctors there told us that for treatment we have to take the child outside and her treatment will be very expensive and cost around Rs 25-30 lakh.

“We had no money and ran from pillar to post but got no help as there are lack of specialised hospitals in Madhya Pradesh.”

The destitute father eventually got help three days after the child’s birth when the state government came in for aid and sent the baby for treatment at All India Institute for Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

Dr Chaurasiya, child specialist at Chhatarpur district hospital, said: “The heart is covered by bones and skin in the human body but in this case though her heart was formed completely during embryonic development, the body wall could not mature properly. It is an extremely rare condition and if surgery is performed, she could be saved.”

Dr R.S. Tripathi, Civil Surgeon, said: “Keeping in mind the infant’s serious condition, the infant was sent to the All India Institute of Meidcal Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi along with a doctor,” he added.

The newborn’s treatment would be carried out with financial assistance under the state government’s Child Heart Treatment Scheme.

“I am extremely thankful to the government for their help. I am hopeful that my daughter would now get a life-saving operation and live a healthy life,” the father added.