Extrathoracic heart (ectopia cordis). Report of two cases and review of the literature

Int J Cardiol. 1989 Feb;22(2):221-8. doi: 10.1016/0167-5273(89)90071-5.


We report 2 cases of extrathoracic heart (ectopia cordis) operated on a few hours after birth at Laennec Hospital, Paris. The first patient had an associated diastasis of the rectus muscles. The second one, in whom diagnosis was made by ultrasound during fetal life, had a normal abdominal wall. In both cases it was possible to accommodate the heart in the left pleural cavity after a wide dissection of the posterior mediastinum. Both babies, however, died soon after the operation. Double outlet right ventricle was found in both. We have reviewed those cases previously described and discuss the importance of prenatal echocardiographic diagnosis in this rare condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / pathology
  • Heart Atria / pathology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / pathology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Ultrasonography