Outcomes for Ectopia Cordis

J Pediatr. 2020 Jan:216:67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.09.014. Epub 2019 Oct 24.


Objectives: To utilize a large multicenter neonatal cohort to describe survival and clinical outcomes of very low birth weight (VLBW) or preterm infants with ectopia cordis.

Study design: Data were prospectively collected on 2 211 262 infants (born 2000-2017) from 845 US centers. Both VLBW (401-1500 g or 22-29 weeks of gestation) and non-VLBW (>1500 g and >29 weeks) infants had diagnoses or anatomic descriptors consistent with ectopia cordis and/or pentalogy of Cantrell. The primary outcome was neonatal survival, defined as hospital discharge or initial length of stay of ≥12 months.

Results: In total, 180 infants had ectopia cordis, 135 (76%) with findings of pentalogy of Cantrell. VLBW infants comprised 52% of the population. VLBW mortality was 96% with 79% dying within 12 hours, compared with 59% and 36%, respectively, for non-VLBW. One-third of VLBW infants received life support compared with 65% of non-VLBW. Surgery was reported for 34% of VLBW and 68% of non-VLBW infants. Congenital heart disease was reported in 8% of VLBW and 36% of non-VLBW, with conotruncal abnormalities most common. Survival exceeded 50% for infants >2500 g and >37 weeks of gestation.

Conclusions: Survival of VLBW infants with ectopia cordis was poor and substantially worse compared with non-VLBW, with notable discrepancies in resuscitative efforts and surgical interventions. Although gestational age and weight strongly influence current survival, more detailed information regarding the severity of cardiac and noncardiac abnormalities is required to fully determine prognosis and inform counseling.

Keywords: pentalogy of Cantrell; preterm; very low birth weight.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ectopia Cordis / mortality*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology