When I heard about Ryan Marquiss and saw his smiling 3 year old toddler face I was pretty much amazed, but pleased. Ectopia cordis is an exceedingly rare defect in which the heart, in part or in its entirety, forms outside the chest cavity. It is considered as one of the less common cardiac malpositions (defects characterized by the heart or great vessels developing in the wrong place). When I say rare, I mean rare. Ectopia cordis occurs in 5 to 7 per one million live births and is associated with an extremely high mortality rate.