Local MP backs charity’s campaign to boost early diagnosis of children’s heart conditions

James Brokenshire has given his support to a new campaign which seeks to increase early diagnosis of children’s heart conditions.

The Think HEART campaign launched by the national charity the Children’s Heart Federation, aims to inform parents of the warning signs of a possible heart condition and empower them, giving them the confidence to raise their concerns about their child’s health with their doctor or a health professional.

Congenital Heart Disease is the most common birth defect, affecting over 5000 children in the UK each year. Despite the seriousness of the condition only around a third are detected before birth and delays in detection cause uncertainly, distress, physical harm and can even lead to risks to life for these young children.

The Think HEART acronym has five easy to remember steps to identify a possible underlying heart problem:

HHeart Rate (Is their heart rate too fast or too slow. Normal rate is between 100 to 160 beats per minute)

EEnergy (Are they sleepy, quiet and too tired to feed)

AAppearance (Is your baby a pale, waxy, dusky, blue or grey colour)

R Respiration (Are they breathing too fast or too slow. Normal rate is between 40 to 60 breaths per minute)

T Temperature (Are they cold to touch – particularly their hands and feet)

James Brokenshire MP commented, “I’m pleased to support the Think HEART to increase early detection and make sure that children with heart problems get the correct diagnosis much sooner. This campaign can help save lives and reduce stress and suffering for children and their whole family”.

Anne Keatley-Clarke Chief Executive of CHF commented about the campaign, “The introduction of Pulse Oximetry testing, a simple, quick and cost effective screening method for newborns would help boost detection to over three quarters. Alongside the Think HEART campaign we can help to dramatically increase rates of detection and improve countless lives of both children and their families right across the UK.”

You can get more details on the campaign by visiting www.chfed.org.uk/thinkheart