Eddie Foley (age 4), Heart Children member, from Mullagh, Co. Cavan

Free conference for young people with heart disease

Heart Children is set to host a conference on health and mental well-being for young people with congenital heart disease (CHD), and their families this Saturday, February 18.

Marking Global Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Month, ‘The Beat Goes On’ conference aims to support young people age sixteen and upwards as they move from paediatric to adult care, with lots of practical tips and advice for self-care. The event will also provide a forum for parents as they step back from the management of their child’s serious medical condition and navigate how best to offer support into the future.

Between 500-600 babies are born with CHD here in Ireland each year. In fact, it is one of the most common types of birth defect, affecting up to one in 100 babies born worldwide. The term “congenital” means the condition is present at birth.

Sheila Campbell is the CEO of Heart Children. She explained: “CHD can vary from mild, such as a small hole in the heart, to severe, such as missing or poorly-formed parts of the heart. Regrettably, children with the more complex forms of CHD will need ongoing heart surgeries throughout their lifetime to manage the disease.”

Research shows that up to 50 per cent of people living with CHD endure a lifetime prevalence of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of their condition. This conference, which is completely free of charge, will take place in the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Dublin 2. To register, simply email info@heartchildren.ie Children’s Health Ireland at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, is the national centre for paediatric cardiology.

All paediatric cardiac surgery including cardiac catheterisations are carried out there. All cardiac patients are treated in The Children’s Heart Centre.