The Doctors: Surviving Ectopia Cordis & History of Polio in The U.S.


The Doctors: Surviving Ectopia Cordis

The Doctors shared inspiring medical stories about people and families who are beating the odds, and baby Audrina’s story is just about as inspirational as they come. Audrina was born with a rare condition called ectopia cordis, with 1/3 of her heart outside of her chest. This condition is so rare, it only affects eight in one million babies. Ectopia cordis is almost always fatal, but incredibly, Audrina is not only alive, but thriving.

The Doctors: Surviving Ectopia Cordis & History of Polio in The U.S.

The Doctors discussed a baby that miraculously survived ectopia cordis and the history of polio in the United States.


The Drs: Ectopia Cordis Surgery

With ectopia cordis, the heart is completely unprotected by the skin or sternum, which makes this condition almost always fatal. 90% of babies born with ectopia cordis are stillborn or die within their first three days of life. Despite this bleak prognosis, Audrina’s parents remained hopeful that their baby could survive.

Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital, spoke with The Doctors via Polycom. He explained that within 12 hours of Audrina’s birth, doctors were able to mobilize an entire team of surgeons. During Audrina’s six hour surgery, it was crucial for the doctors to cover her heart as quickly as possible to limit exposure. Her heart was also pushed further back into her body.

Now, Audrina wears a protective shield around her chest. She’s not yet old enough, but as she grows, doctors will create a sternum using her rib cage so that her heart can be fully protected. Other than these unusual circumstances, Audrina is a fully healthy child. “Her prognosis is excellent,” Dr. Hollier said.


The Doctors: What Is Polio?

Polio is no longer a threat in the United States, but that isn’t the case for less fortunate parts of the world. Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have committed an astounding one billion dollars to the worldwide fight against polio. Currently, polio exists in just three countries in the world: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Dr. Travis Stork explained what polio is and detailed some of its history. It was first discovered in 1879 by British physician Michael Underwood. Non-paralytic polio can produce relatively minor symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and fevers. However, paralytic polio affects the spine and possibly the brain stem. Polio was an extreme threat to children and all people in the early part of the 20th Century.

The Drs TV: History Of Polio

By the end of the 19th century, polio had begun killing in large numbers. In 1916, the first large polio epidemic in New York City killed 6,000 people. Of course, the most famous case of polio ever could be the diagnosis of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who contracted the disease at the age of 39.

In 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, which was first administered in the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Jim Sears believes this to be the biggest medical advancement of the past 100 years. By 1957, incidences of polio fell by up to 90%. By 1988, there was essentially no such thing as polio in the United States. Today, children receive their polio vaccines at a very young age, and parents no longer worry about the disease affecting their children.

Now, the hope is that polio will be completely eradicated worldwide during the 21st Century.


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