Heart Catheterization, Interventional
Previous Next
Commonly Asked Questions

Will my child be put to sleep for the procedure?
Many interventional catheterizations require that the child be completely still, so often the child will be put to sleep by an anesthesiologist. In that case, a breathing tube will be inserted and the child's breathing will be assisted by a breathing machine.

Will my child be in pain during the test?
No. In general the children who are put to sleep for the test feel no pain. If they are uncomfortable more medication is given during the test. Mild soreness of the site may occur and usually needs nothing more than acetaminophen.

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. When the intervention is to take place the child will be put to sleep or will be medicated as needed for safety.

Can I watch the catheterization?
No. There is no place for the family to watch and 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. Often final recommendations about the need for further 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 might take a week. Ask your child's doctor when to expect to hear from them with the final results.

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?
Not usually. The blood loss is usually small and does not need to be replaced. Ask if the doctor expects an unusual amount of blood to be lost and if your child should donate blood ahead of time.

Will my child need new medicines after the procedure?
Sometimes aspirin or a blood thinner is used after an interventional procedure. Your child's doctor will let you know what medications need to be given. If a blood thinner is used, sometimes the child must stay in the hospital for a few days until the medicine has had a chance to work.