Heart Catheterization, Diagnostic
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Commonly Asked Questions

Will my child be in pain during the test?
No, in general the children sleep though the test. If they are uncomfortable, medication can be given during the test. Mild soreness of the site may occur and usually needs nothing more than over the counter analgesics.

What if my child is awake?
All children have catheterizations while they are asleep. Older teen agers are often mildly sedated and can be awake for the procedure. Reassurance and comfort is always given and the child's needs are attended to.

Can I watch the catheterization?
No, there is no place for the family to watch. Care is taken to prevent infection much like an operating room, so only doctors, nurses and technicians are in the room with the child.

How long will the test take?
Generally the test takes several hours and the child may be gone from the observation area (recovery area) for three to four hours. A member of the team will keep you informed of the progress.

When will I know what the test showed?
The cardiologist who performed the test will tell you whatever information is available at the end of the procedure. Sometimes the doctor sends tests out, which take a few days to get back. Often final recommendations about the need for surgery or further testing will not be made until all the cardiologists and heart surgeons who care for your child have reviewed the test results. Sometimes that may take a week.

Will the x-rays harm my child?
No, the smallest amount possible is used and no harm should come to your child.

Will my child need a blood transfusion after the blood samples are taken?
Most of the time the total blood loss is less than a tablespoon and does not need to be replaced.

Are there stitches that need to be removed?
Only a small nick in the skin is left at the end of the procedure, so stitches are not required. There will be a large bandage over the puncture site that will be removed the following day.