Heart Babies – We can help!

Facts about Childhood Heart Disease

Incidence of Childhood Heart Disease is far greater than most people expect. Although it comes as quite a shock to family and friends alike, an astounding 6 babies each day in Australia are diagnosed with heart disease! Cures remain predominantly unknown and little in general is known about the disease and its causes. Therefore we need your help to assist in addressing this situation

Common known facts about CHD include;

  • Heart defects are present in 1 in 100 babies
  • Heart defects are the most common birth abnormality
  • Heart disease in children is the leading cause of young children death in Australia, accounting for more than 30% of all childhood deaths.
  • Childhood Heart Disease takes more lives than all other childhood diseases combined
  • Nearly twice as many children die each year from congenital heart disease compared with all childhood cancers
  • More than 2015 babies are born in Australia each year with a heart defect
  • Childhood heart disease is no fault of the parents or the child. It is simply a result of the cruel hand of fate
  • The severity of defects in heart children can range from a hole in the heart, to a highly complex combination of conditions
  • Up to 20% of heart defects are gene-linked abnormalities, but for the remaining 80% the cause is largely unknown
  • More than half of these conditions are serious enough to require treatment through medication or surgery – sadly some cannot be repaired
  • Cures of these heart conditions remains unidentified, therefore there is an immense need to develop early intervention strategies to identify and prevent heart disease in children
  • Heart disease is the most common reason for admission of Australian children to intensive care units with more than 1300 being admitted each year
  • The term ‘congenital heart defect’ refers to an abnormality of the heart, which is present at birth. It has nothing to do with diet or obesity
  • Heart valve replacements come in 3 forms: homographs (valves from humans) tissue valves (from cows or pigs) and mechanical man-made valves
  • Some children acquire heart conditions during childhood, eg cardiomyopathy, Kawasaki disease or as a result of rheumatic fever
  • A disproportionate number of indigenous children suffer from acquired heart disease – often as a result of rheumatic fever, which is rampant in many communities
  • Heart Transplants are much more challenging for children as their immune systems are not fully developed
  • The only Paediatric transplant unit in Australia is at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

Each year approximately 2,000 children are born in the Australia with a heart defect. Prognosis and life expectancy of these patients have greatly improved over the past decades, especially as a result of the development of new operative techniques. As a consequence of the successes of cardiac surgery, the majority of these children now reach adulthood. This implies the emergence of a new category of patients: adults who were born with a heart defect (congenital heart disease). A rough estimate of the current number of adults with congenital heart disease in the Australia is between 26,000 to 32,000 patients. This number is growing steadily at a yearly rate of approximately 5%. In addition, there are an estimated 32,000 children (<18yrs) with congenital heart disease. Thus, the total number of living patients born with a cardiac defect is approximately 62,000 individuals.

Since it concerns a new, rapidly growing, patient population with often substantial (postoperative) morbidity it is important that comprehensive knowledge regarding the specific problems of this category of patients is available. A national registry would make an inventory of the epidemiology and specific morbidity of adult congenital heart disease at a national level.

More than 4 young Australians will die this week as a result of congenital heart disease. Will you help to save them?

Sources:
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australian Bureau of Statistics
American Heart Association
CONCOR Study

2 thoughts on “Heart Babies – We can help!

  1. Thankyou for sharing this information. I was not aware of the magnitude of the problem and feel it is a very good charity to support. What a gorgeous photo of this little babe. It says it all.

    Like

    • Yes the photos does and I hope we can contribute something to alleviate the suffering of these beautiful children and their families

      Galy Sachar O’Connor Mobile: 0415100775 email: oconnor.galy@gmail.com

      “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect”

      “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however”

      “PAIN IS TEMPORARY. IT MAY LAST A MINUTE, OR AN HOUR, OR A DAY, OR A YEAR BUT EVENTUALLY IT WILL SUBSIDE AND SOMETHING ELSE WILL TAKE ITS PLACE. IF I QUIT, HOWEVER, IT LASTS FOREVER. THAT SURRENDER, EVEN THE SMALLEST ACT OF GIVING UP, STAYS WITH ME. SO WHEN I FEEL LIKE QUITTING, I ASK MYSELF, WHICH WOULD I RATHER LIVE WITH?”

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