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Health Information For Parents
A cardiac catheterization is a procedure in which a catheter (a long, thin tube) is inserted into a blood vessel. Then, a
guides it to the heart and the blood vessels around it.
Cardiac catheterizations can help cardiologists diagnose and treat many different heart problems.
The procedure may be done on kids or teens to:
Your cardiologist will talk with you about how to prepare for the procedure and:
If your child is old enough to understand, talk about what will happen before, during, and after the cardiac catheterization. Use words your child can understand and let your child ask questions.
A cardiac catheterization is done in a type of operating room called a catheterization lab. There will be an area close by where you can wait until the procedure is finished.
In a cardiac catheterization:
through a vein. This special dye helps the cardiologist see the heart’s vessels, valves, and chambers more clearly.
lets the cardiologist guide the catheter to where it needs to be.
Your child will be watched closely for several hours after the catheterization. Your child will need to stay lying down with that leg straight until the doctor says it’s OK to get up, usually 4–6 hours.
The doctor will also talk to you about:
Take the bandage off as instructed by the cardiologist, usually the day after the catheterization. Wetting the sticky parts of the bandage will help it come off. Then, dry the area and put a small adhesive bandage over the place where the catheter went in.
Gently wash the area with soap and water at least once a day. Then, cover it with a new adhesive bandage.
For about 2–3 days, your child should take sponge baths or short showers so that the area where the catheter went in does not get too wet. He or she should avoid baths, hot tubs, and swimming, and not use any creams, lotions, or ointments on the area.
Cardiac catheterizations are generally safe procedures. It’s normal for the area where the catheter went in to be bruised, sore, or slightly swollen for a couple of days afterward.
More serious problems are uncommon, but can happen. These include:
Call your cardiologist if your child has:
Cardiac catheterizations are an important way to diagnose and treat heart problems. Most kids have no problem with the procedure, and are back to their regular activities within a week.
Atrial septal defect (ASD) â also known as a “hole in the heart” â is a type of congenital heart defect. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD) â also known as a “hole in the heart” â is a congenital heart defect. Most VSDs are diagnosed and treated successfully.
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a combination of problems caused by a birth defect that changes the way blood flows through the heart.
Pulmonary stenosis means the pulmonary valve is too small, narrow, or stiff. Many people have no symptoms, but kids with more severe cases will need surgery so that blood flows properly through the body.
The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that connects two major arteries before birth and normally closes after a baby is born. If it stays open, the result is a condition called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).
An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat usually caused by an electrical “short circuit” in the heart. Many are minor and not a health threat, but some can indicate a more serious problem.
Cardiac stents are very small mesh wire tubes that hold blood vessels open so that blood can flow through the vessels normally. Find out about the procedure to place a stent.
The heart and circulatory system are our body’s lifeline, delivering blood to the body’s tissues. Brush up on your ticker with this body basics article.
Your heart beats and sends oxygen throughout your entire body. Find out how it works and how heart problems can be fixed.
Arrhythmias are abnormal heartbeats usually caused by an electrical “short circuit” in the heart. Many are minor and not a significant health threat, but others can indicate a more serious problem.
Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease, mainly affects older people. Find out more in this article for kids.
Getting an EKG doesn’t hurt and it gives doctors important info about how your heart is beating. Watch what happens in this video for kids.
This video shows what it’s like to have an electrocardiogram (EKG for short).
Atrial septal defect, or ASD, is a heart defect that some people are born with. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully with few or no complications.
The heart and circulatory system (also called the cardiovascular system) make up the network that delivers blood to the body’s tissues.
Aortic stenosis means the aortic valve is too small, narrow, or stiff. Many people have no symptoms, but kids with more severe cases will need surgery so that blood flows properly through the body.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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