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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
Cardiac catheterization is often used to treat congenital heart defects on babies and small children for whom open-heart surgery may be very risky. It can even be performed on babies immediately after birth.
Cardiac catheterization may be performed for the following reasons:
A specially trained cardiologist performs the procedure.
Some catheterizations are performed on an outpatient basis (the patient arrives in the morning for the procedure, and may be able to go home in the afternoon or evening). Your cardiologist will tell you whether an outpatient procedure is appropriate for you, and give details on how to prepare for a heart cath.
Your child is given a sedative to help her relax and sleep during the procedure.
In the "cath lab,” your child will lie on a small table with a c-shaped x-ray machine. Heart monitors and other equipment are nearby. A specially trained staff of nurses, technicians and physicians monitor your child and make sure she is comfortable during the procedure.
The catheter is withdrawn and several gauze pads are placed on the site to prevent bleeding. If the blood vessels in the leg were used as the insertion site, your child will be told to keep her leg straight for a few hours after the procedure to minimize the chance of bleeding.
Your child is then taken to a unit in the hospital where she will be monitored by nursing staff for several hours after the test. You will receive written instructions regarding care of the catheterization site, bathing, activity restrictions and any new medications your child may need to take at home.
Depending on the results of the cardiac catheterization test, additional tests or procedures may be scheduled to gather further diagnostic information.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”