A DORSET MP is backing a charity campaign for all babies to be tested for heart conditions at birth.

Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, has shown her support for the Think HEART, the Children’s Heart Federation’s initiative to raise awareness of how parents can spot heart problems themselves.

She also learnt about Pulse Oximetry, a quick, painless and cheap test that measures oxygen levels in blood and detects more than 90 per cent of life-threatening heart defects in newborns.

Annette said: “Every year around 5,000 babies are born with congenital heart disease, however only a third are detected before birth, meaning babies with potentially lethal but treatable conditions leave hospital without being diagnosed.

“Delays in diagnosis cause distress, physical harm, and can risk life.”

Anne Keatley-Clarke, chief executive of CHF, said: “We are grateful for Annette’s support for increasing the early detection of heart conditions in babies.

“Having all babies tested at birth will help save lives and we hope our Think HEART campaign will help more parents across Mid Dorset and North Poole spot the early signs of heart conditions so if needed, children can receive life-saving treatment early.”

The charity has also provided parents with five easy signs to help spot a heart problem, which include whether the baby’s heart rate is too fast or slow, as the normal rate is between 100 – 160 beats per minute.

If the baby is always sleepy, quiet, or too tired to feed, or has a pale, waxy, blue or grey colour complexion, these could also be signs to look out for.

Additionally, if the baby is breathing too fast or slowly than the normal rate of 40 – 60 breaths per minute, or has a cold temperature, particularly on their hands and feet, could also be signs of a heart condition.

For more information on the campaign, go to CHfed.org.uk/thinkheart