26th May 2016
Sonographers throughout Wales are to receive specialist fetal cardiac training to help detect babies with heart defects during pregnancy scans.
Public Health Wales have commissioned the charity Tiny Tickers to provide training to more than 120 sonographers in hospitals across Wales with hands-on training to help them to detect structural abnormalities of the heart (or CHD) in babies.
The training will concentrate on the 3 vessel and trachea or 3VT view, meaning a sonographer will be looking at a total of five views of a baby’s heart during the 20-week scan. The hands-on training will be supported by two theory conferences, made possible by generous funding provided by Tiny Tickers ambassadors, former champion jockey Sir Anthony (AP) McCoy and his wife Chanelle.
Tiny Tickers’ Chief Executive, Jon Arnold, said: “Tiny Tickers is here to help sonographers – giving them the skills and confidence to spot when a baby’s heart doesn’t look normal. Spotting a defect during a 20 week pregnancy scan can be very difficult, so we’re giving sonographers all the support we possibly can – including our experts going into local units across the country to train staff, and our theory conferences.
“We know the difference early detection makes for these babies and our training scheme is already delivering real measurable improvements. The antenatal detection rate across the UK is 46%. When we provided training across Wales in 2009, we saw detection rates rise to over 60% – leading the way for other parts of the UK. We’re delighted to be back, and hope to see Welsh rates rise even further as a result of this new training scheme. We can’t wait to get started.”
Ruth Lawler, Head of Maternal and Child Screening, Public Health Wales said: “The antenatal detection rate for congenital heart defects in Wales is good but we want to improve this further and are pleased to be working with Tiny Tickers to enable this.”