Cardiac Catheterization
Heart Center

Cardiac Catheterization

About the Program

Thanks to medical advancements, our innovative Heart Center can repair many heart defects using a minimally-invasive procedure called cardiac catheterization instead of open heart surgery

Our two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs (Cath Lab for short) allow our providers to perform diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterization procedures for patients of all ages, from newborns to adults, with congenital heart disease. Diagnostic catheterization allows doctors to run a variety of heart tests, and interventional catheterization allows doctors to repair the heart.

Sometimes cath procedures are considered the first choice of treatment over surgery depending on the condition and treatment plans. Other times, cath procedures are used to provide a short-term solution until a longer-term heart surgery can be performed more safely.

Utilizing the most advanced equipment available, procedures can be performed with less radiation, making it safer for the patient; not to mention, the benefit of avoiding another open-heart surgical procedure. Technology such as 3-D rotational angiography and 3D Echo Pixel allows us to view the anatomy from a 360-degree rotating view helping to clarify complex problems.

Watch one of our brave patients prepare for and get his cath procedure:

Experts in congenital interventional cardiology

Children’s has a multi-disciplinary team including two congenital cardiac surgeons, two congenital interventional cardiologists , a team of congenital cardiac anesthesiologists, pediatric cardiologists and pediatric radiologists who all meet together to put a plan in place for your child’s procedure making sure each child gets the individualized care you expect from us. In our Cath Lab, one or two congenital heart disease interventionists, along with a team of specialists, perform every high-risk heart catheterization.

Providing anesthesia to patients with congenital heart defects can be quite complex. Assisting our cardiologists are a highly trained team of pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists who provide the general anesthesia services to ensure the patient is comfortable and safe.

About the procedure

A cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat many heart conditions. Catheterization procedures have been used to treating common heart conditions, like holes in the heart, narrowed valves, or narrowed blood vessels for decades. These procedures are performed by using a needle to place catheters in blood vessels, typically in the leg or neck, which are then extended into the heart and lungs to treat various defects. In the modern era, heart valves can also be delivered through the leg for many patients, preventing an additional open-heart surgery. Our dedicated team of congenital interventional cardiologists and staff provide the capability of offering every form of known intervention.

Diagnostic Catheterization

  • Typically performed prior to any intervention to decide if the necessary indications are present as well as providing precise measurements to ensure the subsequent intervention is successfully performed in the safest manner.
  • Prior to open heart surgery to provide the surgeons with vital information to plan the operation and ensure the best possible outcome.
  • To provide additional information when echocardiography and/or other imaging modalities do not adequately show the structures of the heart and related blood vessels.
  • Help understand the functioning of the heart and identify any problems with related blood vessels.
  • Provide crucial information needed to appropriately treat patients with pulmonary vascular disease / pulmonary hypertension

Interventional Catheterization

  • Performed by our highly skilled congenital interventional cardiologists with a dedicated team of congenital cardiac catheterization nurses and technologists to treat a wide variety of conditions and heart defects
  • We also specialize in treating rare, life-threatening problems that require a high degree of technical skills. Examples include catheter treatments for pulmonary vein stenosis, combined catheter, and surgical hybrid approaches to complex left heart obstructive defects, transcatheter replacement of pulmonary valves in patients who have already had prior surgery, and PDA device closure in the extreme premature neonates weighing as small as just 500 grams (or a little over one pound). You can learn more about the device we use for these procedures by visiting:

We also specialize in treating rare, life-threatening problems that require a high degree of technical skills. Examples include catheter treatments for pulmonary vein stenosis, combined catheter, and surgical hybrid approaches to complex left heart obstructive defects, transcatheter replacement of pulmonary valves in patients who have already had prior surgery, and PDA device closure in the extreme premature neonates weighing as small as just 500 grams (or a little over one pound). You can learn more about the device we use for these procedures here.

Conditions we treat through cardiac catheterization:

  • Device closure of atrial septal defects (ASD)
  • Device closure of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Device closure of ventricular septal defects (VSD)
  • Revascularization of chronically occluded blood vessels
  • Valvuloplasty for narrowed heart valves
  • Embolization of vascular malformations (AVMs) or collateral blood vessels
  • Transcatheter pulmonary valve implants
  • Atrial septostomy
  • Cardiac biopsies
  • Thrombectomy for pulmonary embolism
  • Balloon angioplasty or stenting of narrowed blood vessels throughout the body, including pulmonary arteries and veins, coarctation of the aorta, and other systemic veins and arteries

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