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Published on February 18, 2016

Little Red Hats to Raise Awareness for Congenital Heart Disease

WATERBURY, Conn. (February 18, 2016) ─ Saint Mary’s Hospital is partnering with the American Heart Association for the “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program during February, which is American Heart Month, to help raise awareness for congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country. Every baby born at Saint Mary’s Hospital during February will receive a little red hat.

Ann with red hats

Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart present at birth. They result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception and often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant. Defects range in severity from simple problems, such as “holes” between chambers of the heart, to very severe malformations, such as complete absence of one or more chambers or valves.

The AHA put a call out to knitting and crocheting enthusiasts in December, and little red hats came pouring in from all over the region. Some parents of children born with congenital heart defects sent hats in, as well. Some donated hats in memory of those lost to heart defects.

“We are grateful to all of the volunteers who knit little red hats for our babies at Saint Mary’s Hospital and to the American Heart Association for providing them and partnering with us to raise awareness about congenital heart defects during American Heart Month,” said Ann M. Iannantuoni, BSN, RN, Clinical Manager,  Saint Mary’s Women and Infant’s Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The American Heart Association is committed to raising awareness for CHD, and helping children live stronger lives through education, research and public policies. In fact, the organization’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government. Thanks to AHA advocacy, laws were passed in CT and NYS to ensure that every baby born receives pulse-oximetry testing, which can help identify heart defects immediately after birth. The AHA also creates guidelines for, and trains parents, caregivers and medical professionals in infant and child CPR.

More information about the Little Hats, Big Heart program is online at Learn more about congenital heart defects at Parents of children with CHD may find support online at the AHA’s new Support Network at

About Saint Mary’s Hospital

Saint Mary’s Health System is a leading regional healthcare provider anchored by Saint Mary’s Hospital, an acute care community teaching hospital that has served Greater Waterbury for more than 100 years. Licensed for 347 beds, Saint Mary’s is designated as a Level II Trauma Center, offers award-winning cardiac and stroke care and houses the region’s only pediatric emergency care unit. As the leading provider of surgical services in Greater Waterbury, Saint Mary’s was the first to introduce the daVinci® Robotic Surgery System. The health system’s satellites and affiliates extend from Waterbury to Wolcott, Naugatuck, Southbury, Prospect and Watertown. Follow us on Facebook at SaintMarysHospitalCT or Twitter at @SaintMarysCT.

About the American Heart Association 

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country.

Media Contact

Jennifer Clement
Corporate Communications Specialist

(203) 709-6240