15/01/2010 18:20 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Baby Born With Heart Outside Chest Is Set For Surgery

A baby who was born with her heart beating outside her chest is due to undergo surgery this weekend.

Baby Ashleigh Louw was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, a week ago.

She has an extremely rare condition which means that half of her rib cage did not develop and the heart is covered by a thin layer of skin.

Until the birth her mother, Anastacia, thought she was carrying a healthy baby who appeared to have a normal heartbeat.

It was a huge shock when Ashleigh was born. Anastacia has been pleading for help for the baby girl.

"I'm exhausted and in pain. I have not slept since the day I gave birth to my baby girl," she told Sowetan newspaper.

"I pray to God each day to help the doctors help my child."

Now doctors say the baby will have surgery in the next 48 hours.

Professor Sithembiso Velaphi, head of Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital's neo-natal unit, told South Africa's Times Live: "The operation would be done at this hospital and this would be the first part of the correction.

"The surgeons would close the defect in the abdomen wall, the defect in the diaphragm, and the defect in the sternum (breast bone).

"The defects inside the heart would be done later on."

The condition is only seen in one baby in a million. Velaphi says it is hard to say what Ashleigh's chances of survival are.

"If the baby had only one defect, we would be able to tell what her chances were, but this baby has a number of defects and therefore it is difficult to tell," he told Times Live.

Ashleigh is currently on an oxygen machine in a high care neo-natal unit.

Let's all hope she comes through her operation this weekend.

Source: Sowetan

Source: Times Live