Heart Catheterization, Interventional
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Procedure Explanation

With some children who have heart problems, it may be possible to treat it in the heart catheterization laboratory. A cardiac catheterization with an interventional procedure means that some form of repair will be made through the use of a catheter, rather than just using the catheter to collect information (diagnostic procedure). Examples are closing holes in the heart, blocking off abnormal blood vessels, or as an adjunct to surgery.

Medicine is usually given before and during the procedure so the child does not hurt or remember the procedure. A local anesthetic (Xylocaine), is injected under the skin with a needle at the top of the leg (one side or both may be used). Once the area is numb, a needle is placed into the artery or the vein at the top of the leg. The needle is then replaced with a plastic tube, like an IV and called a sheath. The sheath lets the doctor put the catheters in safely and prevents the child from bleeding from the needle puncture. In some cases, the catheter site may also include the veins in the neck.

A catheter is a hollow plastic tube about the size of a piece of thin spaghetti. It shows up on the special x-ray camera that is used in the catheterization lab. Interventional catheterization uses special catheters to treat some heart problems, for example a narrowed valve can be widened.