Cardiac catheterization has changed the way we treat children with congenital heart disease. Using this nonsurgical procedure, we can both diagnose and treat many congenital heart defects and arrhythmias.
What Is Cardiac Catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization helps doctors diagnose and treat heart conditions without surgery. We insert a catheter – a thin, flexible, hollow tube – into a blood vessel and gently guide it to the heart. We use imaging to help “see” and record information about the blood vessels and the heart.
For many years, doctors have used cardiac catheterization for diagnosis. The procedure helps us evaluate congenital heart defects, check for heart valve problems, locate blocked blood vessels and measure the blood pressure inside the heart.
Now, we also use it as an interventional treatment for certain conditions. Interventional procedures are less invasive than surgery. They offer fewer risks and quicker recovery time for children.
Sometimes, we do both catheterization and surgery, and the cardiologist and the cardiac surgeon work together as a team to treat your child. This combined treatment is known as a hybrid procedure. We have a dedicated pediatric hybrid lab where we perform hybrid procedures.
Why Choose Us for Cardiac Catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization has revolutionized the field of pediatric cardiology. For children, it means faster recovery time, no scarring, less pain and less disruption in their lives. We offer:
- Specialized experience: Led by two internationally acclaimed interventionists, our team has more than 50 years of combined experience in the field. We can perform cardiac catheterization procedures on the tiniest of hearts or on adults with complex congenital or structural cardiac defects.
- Innovative treatment approaches: We can use cardiac catheterization to treat about 30 percent of congenital heart disease, including:
- Closing some holes inside the heart
- Repairing narrow heart valves or arteries
- Placing a new valve, in certain conditions
- Ability to treat all ages: We can use catheterization on very young children. In fact, newborn babies with congenital heart defects greatly benefit from catheter-based procedures. We can also treat adults through our adult congenital heart disease program.
- Hybrid procedures: For more complex congenital heart conditions, we may use a hybrid procedure that combines surgical and interventional procedures. In our dedicated pediatric hybrid suite, a heart team works together seamlessly to provide personalized care.
- Patient-centered focus: We have invested so strongly in cardiac catheterization technology and research because often it’s better for children. When we can use catheterization to close a hole in the heart, a child might be able to recover at home within a day. The procedure also offers a cosmetic advantage for some patients, because it usually leaves no visible scar. We want to minimize the amount of time families have to spend in the hospital so your child can get back to being a child.
Cardiac Catheterization: What to Expect
Datasource: Arrhythmia in children
Cardiac catheterization offers less risk than surgery, along with a quicker recovery. Here are some key things to know:
- We give children an IV with medicine to help them relax, as well as anesthesia. They will be asleep the entire time during the procedure and will not feel anything.
- Unlike surgery, cardiac catheterization requires no incision and no stitches. We only make a needle puncture to insert the catheter (a long thin tube) into an artery or vein in your child.
- A cardiologist gently guides the catheter through the blood vessels to the heart, using imaging to see along the way. Once the catheter is in place, we use it for diagnosis, or we pass other tiny instruments through for an interventional procedure (such as closing a hole in the heart).
- Cardiac catheterization procedures can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to complete. If we are performing a hybrid procedure, it may take up to 4 hours.
- Many children are able go home after spending the night in the hospital after a catheterization procedure. Your cardiologist will tell you ahead of time how long your child will likely need to stay in the hospital.
To schedule an appointment or learn about our award-winning pediatric heart team, call 954-265-3437.