LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Doctors have a new way to detect heart and other conditions in Western Kentucky babies before they’re even born.

Norton Children’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine on the campus of Med Center Health in Bowling Green recently installed new diagnostic and ultrasound equipment. The equipment is designed to identify complex anomalies in unborn babies through early detection so that a plan can be created for the best care during and after birth.

“I think it’s a really big advantage to tackle this early on,” said Dr. Lucinda Wright, a pediatric cardiologist with Norton Children’s Heart Institute. “This really gives us early access to get to these problems early. Early diagnosis of congenital heart disease allows us to structure a delivery plan for mom.”

Each year in the United States, some 40,000 children are born with congenital heart defects, which in Kentucky translates to over 500 children annually. Moreover, 45 deaths per year are attributed to heart defects in Kentucky. Early identification with advanced ultrasound technology may help some of those patients receive life-saving treatment. 

“Studies have shown that outcomes are better if you plan ahead and be ready for them,” said Dr. Wright.

Community support to the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation helped make purchasing the equipment possible. The Harold, Juanita, David, Dennis & Gary Koon Charitable Foundation made a $100,000 gift and Dance Big Red, an annual fundraiser by Western Kentucky University students, provided additional support this past march. 

“This gift will allow us to continue to provide the most comprehensive care to the children and families in Western, Kentucky,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D, R.N., CFRE, senior vice president and chief development officer at Norton Healthcare.