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Neath mum whose baby nearly died from heart failure, supports campaign for newborn testing

By RachelSWEP  |  Posted: February 20, 2014

cai now

Little Cai nearly died at just six weeks, after suffering heart failure. His mum Saera is now backing the Children's Heart Federation's campaign for testing

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A NEATH mum whose newborn baby nearly died from heart failure, is supporting a campaign to test babies for defects.

Saera Cole was left distraught when at just six weeks old, son cai fell severely ill — going grey and limp during a family outing.

Now she’s supporting the Children’s Heart Federation campaign during National Heart Month, which asks for a new test which detects congenital heart defects in newborns to be implemented in all hospitals.

Mrs Cole began to suspect that baby Cai was unwell soon after he was born.

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"His breathing wasn't the same as my other two children," she said.

"He didn't feed very well, which was put down to colic. I raised concerns with his health visitor at around three weeks old to be told that all was fine."

But just a few weeks later, it was clear everything wasn’t fine.

"He went grey and limp during a family outing," said the 30-year-old.

"He was taken by ambulance to casualty where they thought he had a chest infection."

An X-ray revealed that Cai’s heart was enlarged and his lungs were saturated with fluid.

"We were told that he was in severe heart failure and was dying.

"I remember feeling sick and completely numb.

"I kept repeating over and over that he was going to die. Everyone was in shock. No one could ever have anticipated just how poorly he was."

Cai underwent serious surgery and pulled through — and is now a happy and thriving two-year-old, who has started nursery.

However, Cai's family are still struggling to understand why the heart condition was not detected sooner and are supporting the call for post-natal heart screening, known as Pulse Oximetry testing, to be given automatically to all newborns within 24 hours of their birth.

"This test is absolutely fantastic," said Mrs Cole.

"We were one of the lucky families who found out late but our child was OK. This testing could prevent many unnecessary deaths."

Read more from South Wales Evening Post

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