Getting to the heart of it

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This little Arbroath superhero is seeing red today (Friday) to raise awareness of congenital heart defects.

Two-year-old Alex Osborne was born with congenital heart block, which can disrupt the electrical impulses in the heart meaning the top half of his heart beats faster than the bottom.

This means that one day, he will have to be fitted with a pacemaker and has to be carefully monitored.

Fortunately for Alex, the condition was picked up before birth meaning his mum, Heather, could be checked regularly throughout her pregnancy.

And as part of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week which starts today, Alex, along with Heather and dad Martin will be wearing red as part of a worldwide campaign to inform expectant mothers on what to look out for at their 20 week scan.

Heather, who is originally from California explained: “We found out at 25 weeks that there wasn’t something quite right when the staff at Arbroath Infirmary listened in to his heart and something wasn’t quite right and sent me for an ultrasound.

“I’m so thankful they did because that meant we could monitor it.

“It was so nerve wracking knowing something was wrong and we won’t know exactly when he will need the pacemaker.

“But at the moment he is just a normal little boy and a lot of people don’t even realise he has a heart condition.”

And now in her bid to raise awareness of heart defects, Heather is urging all expectant mothers to know what to look out for.

She explained: “As part of raising awareness, there is a great brochure by Congenital Heart Defects UK, which outlines what women should be asking at their 20 week scan about the heart.

“Most women would normally think to ask about whether its a boy or a girl, but we should be also asking questions about the structure of the heart.”

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