NHS staff at Calderdale Royal Hospital given vital training to detect heart disease in young patients

Sonographers at Calderdale Royal Hospital have received vital training to detect the signs of congenital heart disease (CHD) in the youngest of patients, thanks to partner charities Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) and Tiny Tickers.
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CHSF awarded a £17K grant to Tiny Tickers - who work with sonographers across the UK to improve the early detection and care of babies with serious heart conditions.

And sonographers at Calderdale Royal received this potentially life-saving training from Tiny Tickers this week.

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CHSF was formed in 1988 to support staff and patients at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit (LCHU) with life-saving medical equipment, parent accommodation, family support and ward facilities. The LCHU is the biggest Heart Unit in the region and treats patients with congenital heart disease of all ages, with referrals from regional Yorkshire hospitals and clinics.

Photo: Tiny TickersPhoto: Tiny Tickers
Photo: Tiny Tickers

Early detection of congenital heart disease means babies get treatment from the first possible opportunity, and the partnership will improve the chances of survival and long-term quality of life for hundreds of babies.

The training covers the most up-to-date NHS recommendations on what sonographers should look for when examining the heart as part of the 20-week scan.

This specialist fetal cardiac training enhances the confidence and skills sonographers need to detect heart defects during pregnancy scans.

The two charities worked together on a similar project in 2016 resulting in training for 226 sonographers in the region. This most recent project has meant that 200 sonographers have received training across 15 hospitals in Yorkshire.

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Gaynor Bearder, Tiny Tickers staff member and heart parent from Huddersfield said: “Tiny Tickers are delighted to have worked with CHSF to deliver this vital training to sonographers at Calderdale Royal Hospital.

"I am a heart-mum myself and my teenage son was first diagnosed with critical heart defects, shortly after he was born at this hospital.

"Early diagnosis during pregnancy, truly means a safer start for these babies and this training will ensure that these babies receive the very best care and support for them and their families, at the earliest point possible."

Heidi Watson, the CEO of CHSF added: “We are proud to be working with Tiny Tickers on this vital training to improve the prenatal detection of congenital heart disease in our region’s hospitals, and would like to thank CHSF supporters for their life-saving donations.

“It is still sadly the case that almost 1 in 100 babies are born with CHD, but the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit is a world-class centre of excellence so any young patients diagnosed with a heart defect could not be in better hands.

“If you, your school or workplace can help us in our mission to support hearts for life, then please do get in touch.”