Interventional Catheterization Program Research and Innovation

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The catheterization laboratory at Boston Children's Hospital has a long history of developing non-surgical ways of treating children with heart disease. We have developed and perfected catheterization procedures that can be used for treatment of unusual and complicated diseases as well as simple diseases.

Some of our innovations:

  • 1996 - The Webster-Jenkins basket catheter is developed by Kathy Jenkins, MD, and James E. Lock, MD, to provide rapid diagnostic information in mapping multiple sites of cardiac arrhythmias.
     
  • 1999 - The FDA approves the use of CardioSEAL, a catheter-implanted device developed at Boston Children's to repair holes in the hearts of seriously ill heart patients.
     
  • 2001 - Surgeons at Boston Children's perform the world's first successful prenatal aortic valvuloplasty to prevent the progression of fetal aortic stenosis to hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in a 19-week-old fetus. Boston Children's cardiologists threaded a cardiac catheter through the fetus's aortic valve and inflated a balloon to widen the opening.

We’re a resource for referring cardiologists

On average, referring cardiologists request 300 second opinions regarding interventional catheterization from Boston Children's cardiologists each year. While many of these patients may never be treated directly by Boston Children’s Hospital cardiologists, we review all of their cases promptly, and free of charge. And if families request a visit with us, we gladly see them as well.

This approach, which we’ve used for more than 20 years, allows referring cardiologists and families to benefit from the extensive experience of our cardiac catheterization staff, and also improves our understanding of unusual forms of congenital and acquired heart disease.

Improving treatments for rare diseases

The catheterization team is working with other members of the Heart Center to improve the available treatments for some very difficult and rare diseases. Specific examples include:

  • the use of combined catheter and medical treatment of pulmonary vein stenosis
     
  • innovative catheter and surgical approaches to Shone's syndrome and other forms of small left hearts
     
  • replacement of pulmonary valves using only catheters in patients who have already had operations for Tetralogy of Fallot.
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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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