This February, Heart Week is an opportunity for friends, colleagues, family, team mates or neighbours to join together to do something amazing. . Learn more about Heart Week and sign up to take part here.
Through Tiny Tickers’ Heart Week, each of us can raise awareness and funds to help these babies- ensuring they are given a fighting chance to beat their condition. Finding these babies is vital. Last year, over 1,000 newborns were discharged from UK hospitals with no one realising they had a life-threatening heart condition.
Every penny counts. Babies with undetected heart defects will often fall into the early stages of heart failure- significantly impacting their long-term quality of life and associated risks of heart failure, including brain damage.
When these defects are detected during pregnancy, babies get treatment from the first possible moment. Prenatal detection also means that parents-to- be get the support they need to prepare them
for the future; and it means fewer dangerous and costly emergency admissions to hospital.
"Mel got pregnant with Arthur in October 2014 and experienced all the usual excitement and anticipation of what was to come.
But at the 20 week scan, her sonographer said “I’m sorry- I think there is something wrong with the four chambers of the heart.”
Two days later, Mel had the diagnosis- her baby had Transposition of the Great Arteries. It all became very real, very fast. Surgery was necessary but 99% of children survive it, and early detection of her baby’s condition meant that everything could be controlled and planned.
On 11th June 2015, Arthur arrived and six days later, he had open heart surgery to correct his defect.
Mel says, “To be honest, seeing his little body post-surgery was probably the scariest part of the whole experience. He was swollen everywhere and his puffy features meant that he was virtually unrecognisable as Arthur.
But day by day, he got stronger. The swelling reduced and he was feeding and gaining weight. I was able to take on the ‘normal’ mother duties- nappy changing, holding his hand, singing to him. On the sixth day, we were transferred up to the ward, and by the
time he was 16 days old, we were home.”
That was almost 18 months ago and Arthur and Mel have barely looked back since. Arthur has had one cold and a viral infection in that time. Not bad going for any toddler! He is strong and resilient, full of energy, with a wonderful scar on his chest that he can tell his
children and grandchildren about one day.
Mel continues, “I will never forget the brilliant medical teams who looked after Arthur and me, but especially the sonographer who saved his life. It was only through her diligence and skill that Arthur’s condition was detected- and I want all babies born with TGA to have the same chance. That is why Tiny Tickers’ work is so important. They train sonographers to be better able to detect these heart conditions and it is vital and lifesaving work.
Ultimately, Arthur is going to lead a normal life. He’ll play sports and there may be limitations later, but that’s ok by me.”
Heart conditions are the most common and deadly birth defect in babies- responsible for 1 in every 13 infant deaths. Tiny Tickers is a small charity but our work is hugely practical and effective- just
£1,000 is enough to provide training for up to 10 sonographers. If we can raise £10,000 though Heart Week 2017, we will be able to help more babies and their parents this year".