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Saving two lives in one heartbeat...

Cardiac machine bought by Southampton Hospital CharityIn February 2016, Southampton Hospital Charity needed your help to raise £35,000 to purchase a cardiac ultrasound machine to scan the hearts of pregnant women who have cardiac problems, from early pregnancy, during pregnancy and even after the baby is born. 

We are thrilled to say that the machine has now been bought and has already been used on our patients. It was officially named Venus at a presentation with the major donors on Monday 12 September.

Dr Samantha Fitzsimmons, Consultant Cardiologist, comments: “The joint cardiac obstetric clinics are co-located between Southampton General Hospital and Princess Anne Maternity Hospital. Scans at these clinics look at the function and structure of the heart, and allow us to distinguish if the woman will be at risk during pregnancy and labour.” 

Before this appeal, the scanning machines available were not portable, which meant that they were solely based at Southampton General Hospital in the Cardiac Unit.”

In an emergency, pregnant ladies with heart conditions at the maternity unit could wait for 2-4 hours for a private ambulance to safely transfer them across the road to the cardiac unit for a scan. They could then wait a further 2-4 hours for another ambulance to take them back to the maternity unit. This new on-site ultrasound machine means that these women can be seen and scanned within minutes.” 

The machine that needed to be portable, not the patient.”

Venus ultrasound machineThe introduction of Venus will mean quicker diagnosis and safer care for pregnant women during pregnancy and labour. In addition, the new mothers will not be separated from their newborn baby at a crucial bonding time in the relationship.” 

“Previously for non emergencies, the women had their cardiac assessment in the morning clinic at Southampton General Hospital solely for access to a cardiac ultrasound scan. They then attended a second combined cardiac obstetric appointment in the afternoon at Princess Anne Hospital.” 

By having the new cardiac ultrasound machine onsite in the maternity hospital allows us to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ appointment to improve patient experience.”

Suzie Simmons, fundraising manager for Southampton Hospital Charity, adds: “We have been overwhelmed by the support from our local community, and the speed at which the money was raised has been phenomenal. The fact that just six months later we have the machine in place and being used has shown just how much the community got behind the appeal to make this appeal a reality.

I want to say a special thank you to Gareth Sharp, Advantage Retirement and Mott MacDonald Ltd for raising £35,000 in memory of Gareth’s wife Sarah Sharp; Natasha and Lance Beatty for raising £10,000 in memory of their daughter Lahna; Totton Health and Leisure Centre for their Big Spin event which raised £4,473; and finally to Emma Clark and the Southampton Music Hub for their Sounds from the Stadium event which raised a further £1,280. There were also a number of individuals who supported this appeal, so thank you to everyone!”

Our thanks to the Daily Echo and ITV Meridian for filming the presentation. View the video here:

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