Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham is backing a new campaign which seeks to increase early diagnosis of children’s heart conditions after meeting Alex Smith, a parent whose child’s heart condition went undiagnosed for over two years.
Congenital Heart Disease is the most common birth defect, affecting over 5,000 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 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.
The Think HEART acronym has five easy to remember steps to identify a possible underlying heart problem:
H – Heart Rate (Is their heart rate too fast or too slow. Normal rate is between 100 to 160 beats per minute)
E – Energy (Are they sleepy, quiet and too tired to feed)
A – Appearance (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)
“I am delighted to support the Think HEART campaign as it is a fantastic cause. I’m helping to spread the message in Stockton North to as many parents as possible so that we can 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, which is why I’m fully behind the campaign”.