Audrina Cardenas was born October 15, 2012, with ectopia cordis, a rare congenital malformation where the heart is abnormally located partially or totally outside of the chest.
But thanks to a team of talented surgeons at Texas Children's Hospital who operated on her the following day, Audrina has been defying odds since day one — and she has now officially been discharged from the hospital after a three-and-a-half-month stay.
Audrina will later undergo surgery to place a permanent heart shield inside of her chest wall.
"It's a blessing that she's made it this far, and we'll overcome these next little steps that we have," said Ashley Cardinas, Audrina's mother.
Before leaving the hospital, Ashley thanked the Texas Children's staff, including Dr. Charles D. Fraser Jr. (heart surgeon, surgeon-in-chief), Dr. Larry Hollier (plastic surgeon) and Dr. David Wesson (general surgeon), who performed the life-saving operation.
Audrina now wears an external heart shield to protect her heart as she grows and will later undergo surgery to place a permanent heart shield inside of her chest wall. She and her mother will remain in Houston for check-ups over the next several months before returning to the Midland/Odessa area.