'12 born daily' with heart defect

Twelve babies with heart defects are born every day in the UK, analysis from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has shown. Heart defects remain the most common health problem in newborn babies, the health charity said.

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BHF: More research needed to 'unravel' heart defects

More needs to be done to battle heart defects at birth and prevent babies from dying young, a health charity has said.

The BHF has launched a campaign to raise awareness for the 70,000 children living in the UK with heart defects.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF explained:

The fact 70,000 children are living with heart defects shows that heart disease is not just a problem for adults.

Our research is beginning to unravel how some of these defects occur. But there's still a long way to go. Families need our support in other ways too, to help them understand and come to terms with what's happening to their child.

– Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF

'More than' 50 babies born with health defect

According to the BHF, their analysis of the 2011 report from the British Isles Network of Congenital Anomaly Registers (Binocar), found:

  • More than one in 50 babies has some sort of birth defect. This is more than double the previous estimate.
  • Earlier figures suggested one in 80 babies suffers a defect at birth, including Down's Syndrome and spina bifida.
  • At least 14,500 babies with birthday defects in England and Wales were alive in 2009.
  • Heart defects affect at least five in 1,000 babies, making them the most common.

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Twelve babies born with heart defects every day

Heart defects are the biggest health risk facing newborn babies in the UK, according to the BHF. Credit: PA

Twelve babies are born with heart defects every day in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Heart problems are still the most common defect in newborn babies and new analysis suggests approximately 6 percent of these babies will die before their first birthday.

Susie and Duncan Cook's second child, Zoe, now almost two, was born with a hole in her heart.

Mrs Cook, 38, said: "I had to call 999 twice before Zoe had her operation because she went grey in her sleep. I just couldn't get my words out on the phone. It was a horrendous experience.

"As a parent you want to be the one to fix anything wrong with your child. But when they need surgery, you can't. It's all the more traumatic because you feel so helpless."

There is some good news - the number of babies and young children dying from a heart defect has fallen by 80 percent over the last three decades.

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