Baby born with heart outside body is home in Bulwell

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Vanellope Hope Wilkins at home with her mother and father
Vanellope Hope Wilkins is now home with her parents and three brothers

A baby who was born with her heart outside her body has been fully discharged from hospital 14 months after she was born.

Vanellope Hope Wilkins, who was born with no breastbone, was delivered at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester on 22 November 2017 by Caesarean section.

She had three operations to place her heart back in her chest.

Vanellope has now left Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, which she was moved to in May to be nearer home.

She has had a few trips home overnight but now will now be there permanently.

Vanellope’s heart is now covered with her own skin after three operations

Her mother Naomi Findlay, from Bulwell, Nottingham, said it was “absolutely amazing” and “a massive relief” to have Vanellope home.

“It’s exciting but it’s daunting at the same time,” she added.

“It has been an incredibly long, emotional journey.”

Staff at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre have been caring for Vanellope since May

Vanellope requires 24-hour care and is reliant on a ventilator.

Her parents are taking over much of her care, although they will have help overnight.

Ms Findlay said it was “not quite over yet” but it was a chance for them to be a normal family.

Vanellope’s father Dean Wilkins said: “There is still a lot she has to undergo yet but she is home and that’s the first step.

“We are just waiting for the love and the memories we are going to make with her.”

Glenfield hospital
Minutes after her birth, Vanellope’s chest was covered with a sterile bag to keep her heart moist and reduce the risk of infection

The condition, ectopia cordis, is extremely rare with only a few cases per million births, of which most are stillborn.

When Vanellope’s rare condition was first diagnosed in pregnancy her parents were told by she had less than a one in 10 chance of surviving.

However, the experts at the children’s heart surgery unit at Glenfield Hospital defeated those odds.

Glenfield Hospital said it knew of no other case in the UK where the baby has survived.

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Baby born with heart outside body is home

A baby who was born with her heart outside her body has been fully discharged from hospital 14 months after she was born. Vanellope Hope Wilkins, who was born with no breastbone, was delivered at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester on 22 November 2017 by Caesarean section.

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