Cardiac Catheterization in Children

Cardiac Catheterization in Children

It’s regular to be nervous about a procedure that includes your child’s heart. However cardiac catheterizations are normally no cause for alarm. These procedures are often successful in kids and teenagers and bring an extremely low risk of complications.

Kids are normally released from the healthcare facility the very same day and can resume most regular activities within a week.

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure in which a long, versatile tube (catheter) is placed into a blood vessel (usually in the leg) and directed into the heart, permitting a close look at the structures inside. Cardiac catheterization might be recommended to assist diagnose a problem. It can likewise be used to provide treatment.

About Heart Catheterizations

Cardiac catheterizations help medical professionals perform diagnostic tests on the heart and its blood vessels, as well as treat some heart disease. During the procedure, doctors put a long, thin tube (catheter) into a blood vessel and thread it through blood vessels to the heart. As soon as the catheter remains in location, doctors can use instruments to see into the heart and its chambers (by means of X-ray) and carry out particular treatments.

Typically, a cardiac catheterization can make open-heart surgery unneeded, although for more severe heart issues, it’s common for heart catheterization to be done in addition to open-heart surgical procedures.

Heart catheterization is what is called an invasive procedure, indicating it involves going into the body through the skin. Nevertheless, it is a minimally invasive procedure and is not considered “open” surgery considering that it’s carried out without making any big incisions. Usually the only sign that an individual has had the procedure is a small puncture hole where the catheter was inserted, usually in the groin area, however often in the arm or neck.

Diagnostic Tests & Treatments

By carrying out a cardiac catheterization for diagnostic purposes, a doctor can:

  • acquire a sample of heart tissue (biopsy)
  • examine hereditary heart problems (those that are present from birth)
  • determine the blood pressure inside the heart
  • measure the amount of oxygen in the heart
  • check for problems with heart valves
  • locate narrowed or obstructed capillary
  • figure out the need for additional treatment or surgery

A variety of treatments for heart conditions can be carried out during a cardiac catheterization. These consist of:

  • closing holes in the heart that are the result of a hereditary flaw
  • repairing leaky or narrow heart valves
  • dealing with an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) by damaging the unusual heart tissue that’s causing the heart to beat irregularly
  • eliminating embolism
  • pumping up small balloons in blocked blood vessels or heart valves to increase blood flow (angioplasties or valvuloplasties)
  • putting wire devices (stents) in narrowed blood vessels to assist keep them open


Cardiac catheterizations are typically safe treatments, particularly in contrast with open-heart surgery. Although complications are rare, any procedure that includes the heart and blood vessels does carry dangers, such as:

  • bruising or bleeding at the site where the catheter is placed
  • an allergic reaction to the medications or contrast product used during the procedure. Contrast product is a special dye put into the blood vessels that assists medical professionals see the vessels, valves, and chambers of the heart more plainly
  • skin reactions (just like a sunburn) from direct exposure to X-rays
  • infection
  • chest pain
  • embolism
  • cardiac arrest, stroke, or kidney damage

Your doctor will go over these dangers with you and your child prior to the procedure is performed.

Preparing for the Procedure

Prior to the procedure, the doctor will carry out a number of diagnostic tests, including an echocardiogram (ECHO), which uses acoustic waves to create a picture of the heart. The doctor also may do an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to tape the electrical activity of the heart. In uncommon cases, the doctor may call for a cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a CAT scan.

Prior to the procedure, make certain you talk about any allergies your child has with the doctor, especially if they involve contrast product, iodine, seafood, latex, or rubber products. Likewise go over any medications your child takes. The doctor may have your child stop taking medications or change the doses for a couple of days before the procedure. Bring a list of your child’s medications and doses with you to the health center.

Your child will be instructed not to eat or drink anything for about 8– 12 hours prior to the procedure. Having something in the stomach can increase the risk of complications from anesthesia. After the procedure, your child will be able to drink and eat.

When it’s time to go to the hospital, have your child wear comfortable clothes and get rid of any jewelry, specifically lockets that may interfere with the pictures to be taken of the heart. At check-in, your child’s high blood pressure and pulse will be taped. It is very important to keep your child relaxed and distracted at this moment so that the heart beats at a normal rate.

If there’s a possibility that your child might need to remain in the healthcare facility after the procedure, bring toiletries and any other items that can make the stay more comfortable.

Cardiac Catheterization in Children

The Procedure

The heart catheterization will be performed by a pediatric cardiologist in a catheterization lab. The laboratory has special X-ray and imaging machines not discovered in normal operating rooms.

A group of doctors and nurses will be on hand to make sure your child is comfortable and the procedure goes smoothly. In the laboratory, your child will push a little table surrounded by heart displays and other devices. The room is kept one’s cool to protect this delicate equipment, so your child may be provided blankets to keep warm.

First, an intravenous (IV) line will be placed into your child’s arm to deliver medications and fluids during the procedure. A sedative will be given to help your child unwind and sleep. Small, sticky patches called electrodes will be put on the chest; these are connected to an electrocardiograph (ECG) display, which will keep an eye on the heart beat during the procedure.

A nurse will clean and possibly shave the area where the catheter will be inserted, and your child will be given an injection of a local anesthetic (a drug that numbs just a little, specific part of the body, like a hand or patch of skin). Once the area is numb, a plastic sheath (a short, hollow tube used to guide the catheter into the blood vessel) will be inserted into the groin or arm, and after that the catheter will follow.

The cardiologist will use X-rays to assist guide the catheter as it moves up the capillary toward your child’s heart. When the catheter remains in location, a percentage of contrast product will be injected into the blood vessels and heart.

X-rays will be taken of the heart and if your child needs a treatment (like a valve repair or angioplasty), it will be performed at this time.


After the cardiac catheterization is ended up, the catheter will be removed and the site where it was placed will be bandaged. Your child will recuperate for a number of hours while the nursing staff monitors his/her development. If the catheter was inserted into the groin, your child will need to keep the affected leg straight for a couple of hours after the procedure to reduce the possibilities of bleeding at the catheterization site.

If you have a long drive home, stop every hour and have your child walk for 5-10 minutes. If you’ll be on a plane, have your child stretch his/her legs and walk in the aisle a minimum of when an hour.

The day after the catheterization, your child may get rid of the plaster. This is quickly done by getting it damp in the shower and taking it off. When the area is dry, change the plaster with a little adhesive bandage. It’s normal for the site to be bruised, red, or a little swollen for a couple of days after the procedure.

Have your child gently clean the site with soap and water a minimum of as soon as a day, however she or he ought to avoid baths, hot tubs, and swimming for 1 week after the catheterization. Do not use any creams, lotions, or ointments on the area.

The doctor will inform you when it’s safe for your child to resume activities. In basic, your child can expect to feel worn out and weak the day after the procedure and will have to take it easy for the first number of days. This implies no heavy lifting (more than 10 pounds) and no sports. After about a week, your child probably will get the consent to return to all regular activities.

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