New training videos to help detect baby heart problems

10th February 2016

A range of new videos have been launched this week by Tiny Tickers that will be used by sonographers and health professionals to help detect heart problems in babies during pregnancy scans.

The videos will be the first in a range of e-training materials which can be accessed free of charge by health professionals when required, and it is hoped they will help the charity’s efforts to increase detection rates of heart problems in babies.

One in every 125 babies is born with a heart problem – that’s more than 3,000 newborns each year in the UK. But fewer than half of those are spotted during pregnancy and, in some parts of the UK, detection rates are as low as 1 in 4.

That means more than 1,000 newborns leave hospitals in the UK every year with no one realising they have a life-threatening heart condition. Tiny Tickers is the only UK-wide charity that works to improve prenatal detection rates of serious heart defects in babies.Oliver 5

Baby Oliver Needham’s heart defect was detected during mum Donna’s pregnancy. He had his first open heart surgery when he was just 4 days old, and two more operations before he was 4 weeks. Donna says,

“I can’t even begin to explain how heartbreaking it is to watch your little boy go through what Oliver went through. But he’s now 14 weeks old, and is a very happy and smiley boy. You would have no clue of the trauma he has been through unless you caught sight of his neat little war wound.

We owe such a huge amount to the sonographers who initially picked his heart condition up – without them we don’t know where we would be today. Sonographers play such a vital role in detecting heart problems.”

Jon Arnold, Tiny Tickers Chief Executive, says,

Detecting a baby’s heart problem early can give them a greater chance of survival, and a higher quality of life in the long-term. With more than 3,000 babies born with congenital heart defects in the UK every year, the impact of early detection is huge.

bg-innerThe best chance of spotting a defect during pregnancy is at the 20 week scan, and our new range of videos will provide a vital resource for sonographers across the UK by giving them detection tips, scan clips and animated graphics of a range of defects as seen in the heart at 20 weeks.”

The videos will be available for health professionals to view free of charge on the Tiny Tickers website. Funding for the project has come from the Big Lottery Fund, Sir James Roll Charitable Trust, Souter Charitable Trust, Unum, Land Securities and Smiths Group, and the videos have been produced by the Media Trust.

“We’re extremely grateful to our partners and supporters who have enabled us to produce these videos. With this new resource and our future sonographer training plans, we hope we can reach our goal of increasing detection rates to 75% across the UK,“ adds Jon.

To become a professional member of Tiny Tickers and access our free resources and materials, click here.