In this section
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 /
One of the cardiology team, assisted by
a nurse, performing a Catheter Test in
the Cardiac Catheter Lab.
"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
The cardiac catheter lab, or angiography suite, at RCH is
located on the second floor in the main operating theatre area.
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)