The think HEART campaign is an initiative that has been launched to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Disorder. Many Sudden Infant Deaths are caused by undetected Congenital Heart Defects, which this campaign hopes to change by teaching people to recognise the signs.
Jon Cruddas MP is always trying to find ways to improve the healthcare in Dagenham and Rainham. Jon, with the support of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council is helping to raise awareness amongst parents and health professionals concerning CHD and the early signs. By doing this the hope is that CHD related child mortality will decrease.
In support of the ‘Think HEART’ campaign the local council will be issuing pamphlets to GP Surgeries, Community Centres, and Schools to help future parents spot the signs that should be assessed as soon as they appear. The main goal of the Children’s Heart Federation is to pressure the NHS to introduce more preventative measures implementing three tests: Pulse Oximetry Screening alongside antenatal screening and postnatal physical examinations. However the charity has highlighted that in addition to these tests healthcare professionals and parents are being alerted to ‘Think HEART’:
H - Heart rate - too fast or slow? (Normally 100 to 160 beats per minute)
E - Energy & Eating - sleepy, quiet, too tired to eat, falling asleep during feeds?
A - Arterial Saturation - a blue, dusky or grey colour (normal oxygen saturations 95-100%)?
R - Respiration - breathing too fast or slow? (normally 40-60 breaths per minute)
T - Temperature - cold to touch - particulary hands and feet?
Most babies with heart problems are not diagnosed before birth, so it is crucial to recognise the signs of a baby with heart problems as soon as possible after birth, when certain undetected heart conditions can be fatal if left untreated.
The Children’s Heart Federation, family services manager Samantha Johnson has said: "We sometimes hear horror stories from parents who have gone through the hell of seeing their baby becoming weaker and sicker because of an undetected heart problem at the same time as being accused of neglecting their baby. If the NHS routinely uses pulse oximetry screening together with Think HEART, babies will get the special care they need early and parents will be saved some terrible stress."
You can help in the campaign by raising awareness amongst friends and family – making a donation – circulating the leaflets – ‘liking’ on Facebook.
To find out more about the charity and the ‘Think HEART’ campaign follow this link: http://www.chfed.org.uk/news/think_heart