Big Hearts for Little Hearts

Group Health Centre has provided a Fetal Echocardiography program for the last 16 years, which remains the only one of its kind in Northern Ontario. Fetal Echocardiography is the study of a fetal heart in-utero, and a fetal echocardiogram is performed when genetic factors put a baby at risk of having a heart condition, or a problem is suspected during regular prenatal scans.

Meet the team

The pediatric echocardiography team at Group Health Centre consists of Dr. Kirk Zufelt, Pedatric Cardiologist, Cheryl Aubin, Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer, and Toni Waite, Registered Practical Nurse. Together, they are responsible for detecting cardiac conditions in a fetal heart the size of a pea. Without this team and this program in Sault Ste. Marie, patients would have to travel all the way to Toronto for testing and follow-up visits.

Campaign goals

It is crucial for our echocardiology equipment to remain in top condition and up to current standards in order for the team to accurately diagnose conditions of the heart in utero. The machine that our team uses is soon reaching the end of its useful life, and we must purchase new equipment to continue to offer this valuable service.

While the new equipment comes at a cost of $150,000, it offers features that will generate images in league with centres like SickKids in Southern Ontario. It will have the potential to increase how many scans we can do, and will show 3D images of the heart. This new machine will also be able to automatically track the growth of the heart in babies and children, which is vital when you are measuring a heart as small as the tip of your thumb at the time the first study is performed.

How you can help

We rely on donations from people with big hearts to help make a difference for the little hearts in our community. To make a donation, you can call the Trust Fund at 705-759-5530, or use our secure online donation form.

Watch the video below to learn about Faith, who was diagnosed with fetal congenital heart disease before she was born. Faith is now 9 years old and is doing very well thanks to the pediatric echocardiology team at GHC.


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