Eastern Cape heart baby dies

A Port Elizabeth baby boy born with his heart outside his chest died on Friday morning, the Eastern Cape health department said on Friday.

"At 3.30am this morning he unfortunately passed away," said spokesman Sizwe Kupelo.

The boy was born last week Monday at home, and his 17-year-old mother was rushed to the Dora Nzinga Hospital in Zwide.

He underwent an emergency operation last week Tuesday. A piece of skin was put around the heart to protect it while further tests were being done, Kupelo said.

The condition, known as Pentallogy of Cantrell, occurs in one in a million babies.

On Monday doctors concluded that no further tests would be conducted on the baby as his condition was too severe.

His heart had no chambers and was so deformed that some of the veins were under developed, Kupelo said. He added that nothing could have been done for the baby, based on the clinical analysis.

The baby remained in hospital and received medical care until his death.

In a similar case last year, Ashleigh Louw was born in Johannesburg on January 9 with her heart outside her chest, covered by only a thin layer of skin.

Doctors operated on her later that month.

She died on March 5, at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg. - (Sapa, November 2011)

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