One of the major, though fortunately rare, abnormalities of human intrauterine development is a condition known as ectopia cordis. It was first described by the Swiss poet, physician and naturalist Haller in 1706. Arey (1954) briefly characterizes ectopia cordis as an abnormality in which the heart protrudes from the anterior body wall between the widely separated halves of the sternum, and comes to lie exposed on the surface of the chest. Others (cf. De Abbot) have described ectopia cordis as an abnormality in which the heart is malpositioned, high up in the chest, protruding out from the body in the pectoral area, or even displaced into the abdominal cavity.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1958 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Enzmann, E. V.; Luly, J. C.; and Miroyiannis, S. D.
"Ectopia Cordis in a 35 Day Old Human Embryo,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 65(1), 467-473.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol65/iss1/72