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AUDIO: Children's heart surgery services to be transformed

AUDIO: Children's heart surgery services to be transformed

Published at 6:03am 23rd May 2016. (Updated at 4:30pm 23rd May 2016)

A major campaign has been launched to help build a pioneering children's heart theatre at Leeds General Infirmary.

'Keeping the Beat' is aiming to raise £500,000 over the next two years and Children's Heart Surgery Fund has already committed £1.25 million to the project.

The Leeds Congenital Heart Unit is the fourth busiest in the country, with at least 10,000 babies and children from across Yorkshire and further afield being treated there every year.

Around 400 of those patients have open heart surgery and another 450 undergo interventional procedures such as having pacemakers and catheters fitted.

As well as open heart surgery, the children's heart theatre will be used for delivering all minimally invasive procedures.

It will result in faster recovery times, shorter hospital waiting times and less post-operative pain, whilst allowing surgeons and cardiologists to carry out combined procedures and reduce the need for further surgery.

Importantly, it will also provide clinicians with a facility which enables research into new treatments.

Sharon Coyle, Chief Executive of Children's Heart Surgery Fund, said: "There's no doubt that Leeds currently boasts one of the best heart units anywhere in the UK, with patients travelling not just from within Yorkshire but also from outside the region to take advantage of the pioneering surgery and care it provides.

"Over the next two years, Children's Heart Surgery Fund's focus is to support the new standards created by NHS England, with the children's heart theatre being the biggest and most expensive standard amongst the 200 set out by the new review.

"By supporting our appeal and donating, the public will help to ensure that Leeds remains at the forefront of specialist cardiac surgical facilities and continues to provide excellent care to all the babies and children for generations to come."

Children's Heart Surgery Fund

Christian Carroll and Sharon Coyle

To support the campaign, the family of a one-year-old patient have presented a cheque for £31,000 to the charity after holding a fundraising event.

Albie Carroll was diagnosed with congenital heart disease when he was eight weeks old and underwent major surgery in Leeds last year.

His dad, Christian, has been speaking to Stray FM:

Consultant paediatric cardiologist John Thomson explains how much of a difference the new facilities will make:

More information about the 'Keeping the Beat' campaign at

People can show their support on Twitter using the hashtag #keepingthebeat.