Giving Tuesday 2021: 12 babies. Six machines. One day.

Today, around 12 babies will be born in the UK with serious heart conditions. Six of these babies will have been diagnosed during pregnancy. The other six will be born with no-one knowing they have a poorly heart.

A pulse oximetry test is the quickest and easiest way to ensure these six babies receive a diagnosis as soon as possible.

This Giving Tuesday, the day of global giving, Tiny Tickers is asking supporters to help raise £1,452 so we can place six potentially life-saving handheld pulse oximetry machines in UK hospitals.

Tiny Tickers’ mission is that every baby with a serious heart condition is diagnosed as soon as medically possible. Each of these handheld machines represents one of the six babies who will be born today with no-one knowing they have a serious heart condition. Each machine will test thousands of babies every year, meaning those with undiagnosed heart conditions will have a better chance of surviving and thriving.

Early detection of heart defects improves a baby’s chances of survival and long-term quality of life. Babies who are discharged from hospital without a diagnosis may fall into heart failure before anyone knows how critically ill they are. Treatment for congenital heart disease has advanced rapidly in recent years. Most babies with heart conditions will go on to live a full life – if they receive treatment in time. Tiny Tickers aims to ensure they make it to the operating table.

Pulse oximetry testing, which can help detect heart defects in newborns, is not part of the mandatory NHS newborn checks. Tiny Tickers believes every baby deserves the test that could help save their life, which is why we place these potentially life-saving machines in hospitals.

Emma’s son, Leo’s, heart condition was not diagnosed prenatally. Soon after birth, he had a pulse oximetry test, which was carried out as standard in the hospital where he was born. The test showed his blood oxygen level was very low. This quick, painless and simple test started the chain of events that went on to save his life. Emma says, “The scariest thing is, if the pulse oximetry test wasn’t done at birth, we would have gone home and Leo would have died.”

Read Leo’s story here.

Leo, soon after diagnosis

The hospital where Leo was born received pulse oximetry machines from us as part of our Test for Tommy pulse oximetry campaign. Emma believes this saved his life.

Tiny Tickers has been placing pulse oximetry machines in UK maternity units since 2017, supplying both bedside and handheld machines. The decision about which type of pulse oximeter we place is clinically led and based on each hospital’s need. However, we have learned that the majority of hospitals prefer the smaller, handheld machines because they can be moved easily between wards and used by midwives at home births and in the community. For these reasons, our Giving Tuesday appeal will raise money for handheld machines.

It costs £725 to place one bedside pulse oximetry machine and £242 to place one handheld machine. This Giving Tuesday, Tiny Tickers aims to raise £1,452 so we can place six handheld machines.

Find out more about our pulse oximetry campaign, Test for Tommy, here.