Cardiac Catheterisation and Angiography

  • Cardiac Catheterisation

    Many children will need a "Catheter Test". This is carried out in a special Xray room - called "The Catheter Lab" (or 'Angiography Suite'). The test is performed under an anaesthetic for most young children, though for some older patients it can be carried out with a local anaesthetic.  A "Heart Catheter", which is a thin flexible tube, is threaded through a vein or an artery into the heart. This allows the pressure to be measured at different sites in the heart and circulation and also permits blood samples to be taken to check oxygen levels at various places in the heart / lungs, etc

    What is angiography ?

    "Angiography" is a way of demonstrating the internal features of the heart and blood vessels.

    A simple Xray examination will not show the inside details of the heart or blood vessels. Angiography involves an injection of Xray 'Dye' into heart chambers or blood vessels so that they can be seen in detail. This substance is referred to technically as 'contrast medium'.

    Where are theses procedures performed?

    The cardiac catheter lab, or angiography suite, at RCH is located on the third floor in the main operating theatre area.

    Interventional Procedures

    Some heart problems may be helped by an "Interventional Catheter Procedure". These are performed in the Catheter Lab, using a heart catheter - often of a special type. Such procedures allow forms of treatment to be applied for various heart defects. Procedures of this type may be used to stretch open a narrow valve or blood vessel, using a catheter with an inflatable balloon (Illustration). Alternatively, a tiny 'spring coil' may be inserted to block off an abnormal and unwanted blood vessel (Illustration), or an expanding plug (usually referred to as a 'device') may be placed to close a hole such as an ASD or VSD.(Illustration)