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Have a heart for children like Ava.

Byline: HELEN HUNT @helen_echo

A MERSEYSIDE mum wants to see the law change so that all newborns are tested for congenital heart defects.

Vicky Hughes' 17-month-old daughter, Ava, was born with only half a working heart.

Fortunately, the problem was detected during a 20-week pregnancy scan and Ava subsequently had life-saving surgery.

But Vicky and others affected by Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) want the government to make it law that all babies are given a "pulse oximeter" test which would help those whose heart problems are not seen during pregnancy.

Pulse oximeters are noninvasive medical devices that check the level of oxygen in a patient's bloodstream and sounds an alarm as soon as it detects the slightest unsafe change.

Ava joined her friends and family to wear red and blue socks to raise awareness of National Heart Week (February Join the conversation on our Facebook page facebook. com/poolecho 7 - 14) and the campaign for new legislation.

Proud mum Vicky, from Norris Green, said: "We want to try and raise awareness that congenital heart conditions are really serious conditions that children are born with. It's one of the biggest killers in the UK. It's a bigger killer than cancer in children. Not many children with CHD see their first birthday.

"Ava is 18 months on the 21st, so I'm really lucky and proud to have such a fighter on my hands who has took the bull by the horns and fought every single second.

"As a mum with a child who has a heart condition, I feel I need to do something to raise awareness and as a heart community we are trying to get this pulse ox made law. It's a small probe on the end of the child's finger that can tell whether they have a heart defect.

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theliver "It could save lives. In the States, it is already law, but at the moment the Government won't pay for it. If a law is passed it would become compulsory that all hospitals in the UK give this test."

Ava and the Lagan's Foundation charity are asking people across the country to wear red and blue socks for the day and donate PS1 for CHD research. Find out more at www.lagans.org.uk.

CAPTION(S):

SAY IT WITH SOCKS: Vicky Hughes and her daughter, Ava, are raising awareness of heart conditions by wearing red socks; inset, right, Vicky and Ava with her friends Ruby and Honey Pictures: ANDREW TEEBAY
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 14, 2014
Words:413
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