Cardiac Catheterizations

The Catheterization Lab is used for a variety of heart tests and to make corrections to the heart. Many defects that required open heart surgery in the past can now be corrected in the cath lab. Because cath procedures are less invasive and not as hard on the body, your child will recover quickly and will have very little pain compared to open heart surgery.

Ablation – High frequency radio waves are directed at portions of the electrical system of the heart. The radio waves can eliminate unusual electrical activity that causes arrhythmias.

Angiocardiography – An xray method using dye in the bloodstream to show the dimension of the heart.

Balloon Angioplasty – a procedure where an uninflated balloon is attached to the catheter. The catheter is then guided to a narrowed section of blood vessel and inflated to widen the section.

Balloon Atrial Septostomy (Rashkind Procedure) – a procedure to make an atrial septal defect (ASD) larger in order to increase mixing of blood and improve blood pressure.

Balloon Valvuloplasty (valve dilation) – a procedure where a balloon is attached to the catheter. The balloon is then inflated inside the valve, which increases the size of the valve and allows for greater blood flow.

Catheter Coil Embolization (balloon bag occlusion) – a technique used to close abnormal vessels. A bag containing coils is inserted with the catheter. Once correctly positioned, the bag is removed and the coils remain behind.

Cineangiocardiography – a catheterization lab technique where a motion picture film is taken of the movement of an opaque dye through the blood vessels.

Coil Occlusion – a procedure where small metal coils are placed with a catheter to close a hole in the heart, often a paten ductus arteriosus (PDA), atrial septal defect (ASD) or ventricular septal defect (VSD).

Occlusion Devices – a relatively new cath lab technique where umbrella-type devices are inserted with the catheter to close a PDA, ASD or VSD.

Stent – an umbrella-type device that is placed with a catheter in a blood vessel that is narrowed. The stent is long and thin when inserted, and is opened once it is in the correct position. Once opened, the stent is left in the vessel to hold the blood vessel open.

Transhepatic Catheterization – a catheterization that goes through the liver. This is a relatively new technique that is used only on children for whom the usual veins are obstructed.