Cardiac catheterization is both a test and treatment. As a test, it can tell a doctor a lot about a child’s heart, including how well the heart muscle is pumping and how well blood is moving; if there are narrow vessels, thick muscles, holes or other problems with the heart; and how well the heart valves are working. This test, also known as diagnostic catheterization, may be used to give a child’s physician information that will be used to plan for surgery to treat a heart problem. As a treatment, often called interventional catheterization, it can open narrow valves and blood vessels or fix blood vessels or holes in the heart.
What Happens During Cardiac Catheterization?
A team of physicians, nurses, and technicians perform cardiac catheterization in a special X ray room. Before the procedure begins, a child receives anesthesia. During the test, a tube (catheter) is placed in a child’s blood vessels and gently guided into the heart (cardiac). Using the catheter and an X-ray machine, a physician can gain great insights about the inner workings of a child’s heart. The test may take several hours, but someone from the team keeps parents abreast of how the test is going.
What is Cardiac Catheterization? How Can it Help?