Learning About Cardiac Catheterization in Children

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What is cardiac catheterization?


Cardiac catheterization is a procedure your doctor uses to see images of your child's heart and blood vessels. Your doctor can diagnose and sometimes treat heart problems with this procedure.

How is it done?

Your child will get medicine to make him or her relax or sleep.

The doctor then puts a thin tube into a blood vessel in your child's groin. This tube is called a catheter. The doctor will move the catheter through the blood vessel to the heart. A dye can be put into the catheter. The doctor can take X-ray pictures of the dye as it moves through your child's heart and blood vessels.

The pictures can show:

  • Problems in the valves, in the way the blood is flowing, and in the structure of the heart.
  • How well your child's heart is pumping.

If the doctor is going to fix a heart problem, he or she moves special tools through the catheter to the heart. The doctor uses these tools to fix the problem. Then the tools and the catheter are removed.

What can you expect after the procedure?

Your child might be able to go home the same day. If the procedure is more complex, your child might stay in the hospital overnight.

Your child may have a large bandage. It applies pressure to prevent bleeding. Your child may need a leg board with a strap to hold the leg still.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: January 27, 2016