National Heart Week is in February each year, and I thought I’d help to spread the word of a small charity called Tiny Tickers. Tiny Tickers, the baby hearts charity, is promoting Heart Week this week (7th-14th February) in a bid to raise awareness and vital funds to help babies born with congenital heart defects (CHD).
This particular cause is something that I hold dear to me, as my niece was born with a hole in her heart. More specifically, she had a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) that was missed during pregnancy and wasn’t noticed in any of the newborn baby checks. It was picked up during an appointment with her GP at 12 months old due to an ongoing chest infection. It was noticed as a small murmur by a newly qualified doctor who arranged for annual monitoring. Thankfully, it healed itself and she is now a healthy, active 4-year-old beauty that is going to break a lot of hearts as she gets older (quote from her Mother!), but not all children are so lucky.
As many as 1 in every 125 babies in the UK has a congenital heart defect. Only one-third of major heart defects are spotted during pregnancy, and another third are picked up in standard newborn checks at the hospital. Frighteningly, around 1,000 newborns are sent home from hospital every year in the UK with no one realising they are suffering with a life-threatening condition – just like the case of my niece.
Tiny Tickers is a small national charity that aims to improve the detection, care and treatment of congenital heart disease (CHD) in babies. They provide specialist training to health professionals and sonographers so that they are better equipped to identify a heart defect during a pregnancy scan. Tiny Tickers also support parents and families dealing with a diagnosis, and work tirelessly to raise awareness of the symptoms of heart defects in babies so that parents know what signs to look out for.
When CHD is detected during pregnancy, babies get treatment from the first possible moment. Early detection is shown to greatly improve their chance of survival and long-term quality of life, and reduces the risk of side-effects of heart failure such as brain damage.
It is vital that we help to keep these charities running for the good of our children and their children. You can get involved with Heart Week to raise funds for Tiny Tickers by holding a dress down day, guessing the number of Love Hearts in a jar, and many more ideas which can be found here.