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Baby born with heart outside her chest is beating odds

Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle via AP

Audrina Cardenas smiles as a steady stream of doctors inspect her plastic heart protective shield a day before she was discharged from Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Audrina Cardenas, was born with much of her heart outside her body, a highly unusual condition that's usually fatal within the first few days after birth.

By Lisa Flam

A Texas woman received tragic news 16 weeks into her pregnancy: An ultrasound showed that her fetus was developing with a rare heart malformation that almost always proves fatal.

On Audrina’s second day of life, a team of 11 doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston spent six hours performing a life-saving, open-heart surgery to make room in her chest for the one-third of her heart that was outside of her body. Read the full story.

Editor's note: Photo taken on Jan. 22, 2013 and made available to NBC News today.

Audrina Cardenas and her mother appeared on NBC's TODAY on Tuesday. Watch the video below:

Audrina Cardenas, now 4 months old, was born with half her heart outside her body, a condition that's almost always fatal. After six hours of surgery by 11 doctors, however, Audrina has proven herself to be a fighter. NBC's Janet Shamlian reports.