What is Ectopia Cordis?
Ectopia cordis is an exceedingly rare defect in which the heart, in part or in its entirety, forms outside the chest cavity. It is considered as one of the less common cardiac malpositions (defects characterized by the heart or great vessels developing in the wrong place). Ectopia cordis occurs in 5-7 per one million live births and is associated with an extremely high mortality rate. There are five different types of ectopia cordis that are defined by the position of the heart outside the body. Prior to the era of ultrasound, ectopia cordis was not diagnosed prenatally but after delivery. Today most cases of ectopia cordis are diagnosed in the second trimester.