Riley's congenital heart disease


Riley's first Christmas was nearly his last.

He was born in the early hours of Christmas morning in 2010. He had a number of major heart defects.

Heart surgery on infants

He had to have life saving surgery at just a few hours old. Doctors told his parents to prepare for the worst.

Within a few days he needed a second operation.

His dad, Darryl, slept on the hospital floor, and his mum, Michelle refused to leave the hospital for weeks while he was being treated.

It was a lot for a newborn baby to endure. But Riley was a fighter.

Three years on and Riley is still here. He needs ongoing care and treatment, and will need a heart transplant in the future.

But dad Darryl says: “We never gave up on him and he is doing the same for us now.”

What is congenital heart disease?

Congenital heart disease is a heart condition or defect that develops in the womb, before a baby is a born. There are many different types of congenital heart disease such as heart valves not being properly formed or holes between the chambers of the heart.

Others with congenital heart disease

There are various types of congenital heart disease. Here are stories from others born with heart defects or conditions:

Anette's heart defect
Amy's hole in the heart

Support life saving heart research

Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya and his team are investigating the importance of genes and environmental factors in congenital heart disease and heart failure.

More than 4,600 babies born each year with congenital heart disease and in most cases, congenital heart disease develops because something has gone wrong in the crucial stage in foetal heart development. Professor Bhattacharya's team are identifying which genes are critical for the heart to develop normally. 

The researchers are also developing new genetic technology that may enable us to screen for congenital heart disease. Our research on congenital heart disease is made possible by your donations. Help us fight for every heartbeat by making a donation today.