Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Families Of Babies Born With Severe Heart Defects Will Tell Their Stories In Project That Just Got HRC Funding

Liggins Institute researchers will travel the country to listen to families whose babies were born with severe and sometimes fatal heart defects.

The team, which includes specialist doctors from Auckland City and Starship Children’s Hospital, are investigating why fewer Māori and Pacific tamariki survive critical congenital heart disease compared with European babies.

The Health Research Council has awarded $377,000 of funding for the three-year project, headed by Professor Frank Bloomfield, the director of the Liggins, a University of Auckland research institute.

The researchers will ask families about their experiences of the medical system, starting with the baby’s diagnosis, as part of trying to understand why the ethnic disparities exist.

The project springs from a study of nine years of data relating to a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

About once a month, a baby is born with this life-threatening condition where the left side of the heart is underdeveloped, typically needing multiple surgeries.

Survival rates after one year for Māori and Pacific babies with this defect (44 percent and 41 percent, respectively) were lower than for European babies (58 percent). Māori and Pacific babies were more likely than Pākehā babies to receive palliative care rather than active treatment.

“Lower survival rates in Māori and Pasifika tamariki don’t seem to be explained by the severity of the condition itself – that’s why we are taking a much closer look at all factors,” says Professor Bloomfield. “We expect that this study will shed some light, and may lead to changes in the way we care for these whānau.”

Besides listening to families, the researchers will analyse birth data and talk with the heart specialists who treat the babies.

Dr Simone Watkins has taken a break from her career as a paediatric doctor at Starship Hospital in Auckland to take on the three-year PhD project.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Energy: New Zealand Could Be World’s First Large-scale Producer Of Green Hydrogen

Contact Energy and Meridian Energy are seeking registrations of interest to develop the world’s largest green hydrogen plant. The plant has the potential to earn hundreds of millions in export revenue and help decarbonise economies both here and overseas... More>>

MBIE: 36th America’s Cup Post-event Reports Released

Post-event reporting on the 36th America’s Cup (AC36) has been released today. The reports cover the delivery of the event by Crown, Council and America’s Cup Event Limited, economic impacts for Auckland and New Zealand, and delivery of critical infrastructure... More>>

Fonterra: Farmer Feedback Set To Shape Revised Capital Structure Proposal

With the first phase of Fonterra’s capital structure consultation now complete, the Co-op is drawing up a revised proposal that aims to reflect farmers’ views. A number of changes are being considered to the preferred option initially put forward in the Consultation Booklet in May... More>>

Statistics: Household Saving Falls In The March 2021 Quarter

Saving by New Zealanders in the March 2021 quarter fell to its lowest level in two years after rising sharply in 2020, Stats NZ said today. Increases in household spending outpaced income growth, leading to a decline in household saving from the elevated levels that prevailed throughout 2020... More>>