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1 in every 100 children globally born with congenital heart disease

Congenital Heart Disease refers to structural defects of the heart or the blood vessels leading to or from the heart.

Picture: Freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN - Children born with severe congenital heart disease will either die within the first year of life or become inoperable if they’re left untreated.

Congenital heart disease refers to structural defects of the heart or the blood vessels leading to or from the heart.

The importance of having newborns tested for this type of birth defect has been emphasized as part of commemorating International Congenital Heart Awareness Week.

It runs from 7 until 14 February.

Cardiologists say one in every 100 children globally is born with a heart that has an anatomical deviation.

Paediatric Cardiologist Professor Liesl Zühlke explains: “We really feel it’s absolutely critical that this is brought to public awareness and this, for the first year, has been included in the Department of Health’s national calendar

Zühlke says parents can ask for a pulse oximetry test to be done on their newborn before leaving the hospital.

“There is now a very simple test that can be done which looks at the amount of saturated oxygen in your blood stream.”

Clinicians from 17 countries will attend an international conference called the Partnerships for Congenital Heart Disease in Africa (Protea), which will be held in Cape Town next month to address gaps in the treatment of the disease.

A family and patient day will form part of the discussions from 13 to 15 March.

Timeline

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