Many people are unaware of childhood heart disease (CHD) – and its prevalence in Australia.
Some remember the term “Blue Baby” and “Hole in the Heart Baby” – these are conditions that describe CHD which, in reality, covers a wide range of conditions. At HeartKids, we also include children who may acquire heart conditions such as Rheumatic Fever and Kawasaki’s Disease – therefore we often refer to CHD as meaning Childhood Heart Disease rather than congenital heart disease.
Some startling statistics:
- Eight babies are born with a heart defect in Australia every day. That is almost 3,000 every year!
- Childhood heart disease is one of the biggest killers of children under the age of one.
- Approx half of children diagnosed with heart disease require surgery to correct the defect.
- Each week more than Four Australians pass away as a result of a congenital heart defect.
- It is estimated that 32,000 children (under 18 years of age) are currently living with CHD in Australia.
- Some children acquire heart conditions during childhood, e.g. 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 prevalent in many communities.
We at HeartKids are striving to increase awareness of childhood heart disease through various campaign and advocacy programs.
February is International CHD Awareness Month – childhood heart disease is a global issue!
February 14th, which people recognise as St Valentine’s Day – is also International CHD Awareness Day. HeartKids Australia has launched Sweetheart Day on 14 February to raise awareness of childhood heart disease and encourage donations to continue our work in providing support, advocacy, growing awareness and enabling further research into CHD. To support HeartKids, be a sweetheart and donate by sending a virtual Valentine’s gift at www.sweetheartday.org.au.