Baby born with heart outside chest underwent surgery with Gore-Tex

Using a piece of Gore-Tex fabric to make their repairs, doctors performed corrective surgery on a baby born with his heart outside his chest, and said that the youngster should be able to lead a close-to-normal life.

Naseem Hasni underwent surgery to put his heart inside his chest hours after being delivered by Caesarean section Oct. 31 at Holtz Children’s Hospital.

Naseem was delivered at 36 weeks, a few days early. Surgeons made a larger incision than normal to ensure that the heart would not be squeezed or touch any part of the womb. Other than the heart defect, Naseem had developed normally: He was 21 inches long and weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces at birth.

In a few weeks, Naseem will be fitted with a protective piece of plastic to wear over his chest. When he is about 6 months old, surgeons will graft pieces of his own ribs across his chest to create a sternum, or breastbone.

While doctors had not initially been sure that Naseem would survive until Thanksgiving, he could be home with his family as early as Christmas, Rosenkranz said.

Ectopia cordis is a birth defect in which the heart is abnormally located. In the most common form the heart protrudes outside the chest through a split sternum. Less often the heart may be situated in the abdominal cavity or neck.

Often other birth defects are also present. This condition is usually fatal in the first days of life. In some cases surgical treatment is possible. The ectopic heart is not protected by the skin or sternum. Other organs may also have formed outside the skin. Often the heart is not formed properly and many other heart defects are associated with this condition including: Tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary atresia, atrial and ventricular septal defects, double outlet right ventricle. Other non cardiac malformations may present such as cleft palates, spine malformations that can cause kyphosis.

Occurrence is .79/10,000 births. Ectopia cordis is very rare congenital heart malformation.

No exact cause has been identified but this condition has also been seen more frequently in Turner Syndrome and Trisomy 18; however so far there is no evidence that it is a genetically transmissible disease.

Most cases result in stillbirth or death shortly after birth. Some cases of ectopia cordis can be treated surgically but in general involve lengthy and very complicated pediatric cardiothoracic surgery.


Gore-Tex is a registered trademark of W.L. Gore & Associates best known for its use in relation to waterproof/breathable fabrics. Gore-Tex was co-invented by Wilbert L. Gore (1912-1986) and his son, Robert W. Gore. For its invention, Robert W. Gore was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.

Robert Gore was granted US Patent 3,953,566 on April 27, 1976, for a tetrafluoroethylene polymer in a porous form which has a micro-structure characterized by nodes interconnected by fibrils. Robert Gore and Samuel Allern were granted US Patent 4,194,041 on 18 March 1980 for a “waterproof laminate”.

Gore-Tex materials are typically based on thermo-mechanically expanded polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE and other Fluoropolymer products. They are used in a wide variety of applications such as high performance fabrics, medical implants, filter media, insulation for wires and cables, gaskets and sealants.

Gore-tex is used in surgery as an implant material, patch or membrane, such as in plastic surgery and heart surgery.

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