Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease is a general term that refers to a group of birth defects that affect the heart. It is the most common type of birth defect.
There are currently one in 145 babies born with the condition. According to the NHS, over half of these babies will require surgery immediately after birth. The rest will often require surgical procedures or other forms of medical treatment at some point during their lives.
Babies with heart problems can struggle with high blood pressure and resulting breathing difficulties.
How we’re helping
Sparks has awarded a Clinical Research Training Fellowship to Dr Sarah Hillman at the University of Birmingham to investigate a new way of analysing an unborn baby’s genetic make-up. The new technology will be used to identify subtle genetic variations in babies with congenital heart disease.
By making the detection of congenital heart defects easier while the baby is still in the womb, the research aims to help medical staff prepare for when the baby is born or allow appropriate treatment to be arranged either before or immediately after birth.