NEW DELHI, India -- A newborn baby boy with a heart protruding from his chest is set to undergo a complex surgery in New Delhi, India doctors said Monday.
The child has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where his heart has been covered with a synthetic membrane and infected blood fully replaced from his body, said A.K. Bisoi, professor of cardiothoracic surgery.
He told CNN that the four-day-old baby was taken in with a severe infection and dehydration as his parents brought him in a train from a remote region along India's border with Nepal.
The child also has a hole in his heart and is thought to have an extremely rare condition called ectopia cordis where the chest fails to close over all or part of the heart.
"There are only five to eight cases of this kind in one million live births," Bisoi told CNN.
Doctors were surprised that the baby had been able to survive despite so many complexities, he said.
Surgeons may now plan to carry out an operation using a total circulatory arrest procedure that will also involve creating a home for the heart in the chest, said Bisoi.
The baby, who suffers from immuno-deficiency, will be put in a state where his blood will be cooled down to 18 degrees, (64 Fahrenheit), for a half-an-hour stage of the operation, he explained.
"We are working with hope," Bisoi said when asked about chances of success.
In 2006, doctors in Florida, U.S. carried out a similar operation on Naseem Hasni who was born with his heart outside his chest.
The operation was carried out immediately after Naseem was born by caesarean section at a Florida hospital.
Doctors wrapped his heart in Gore-Tex, a waterproof, breathable fabric used in outdoor clothing and medical applications. His heart was then wrapped in a layer of his own skin, to substitute for his missing pericardium, the sac that encloses the heart.
The heart was then slowly eased inside his chest.