Minimally Invasive Diagnosis and Treatment

Medical City Children’s Hospital utilizes the latest in cardiac catheterization (cath) technology to perform minimally invasive, routine tests and non-invasive surgical procedures for congenital heart defects.

Diagnosing Congenital Heart Defects

A cardiac catheterization is performed by physicians worldwide to identify heart and blood vessel problems in children and adults. Many children with congenital heart defects will have a heart cath at some point in their treatment, and many children will need to have this test many times. Children are asleep throughout the entire procedure, which usually lasts two to three hours.

During a diagnostic heart cath, cardiologists insert thin, flexible tubes through the large arteries and into the heart. Typical insertion sites are the groin area at the top of the legs and sometimes the side of the neck. After testing blood oxygenation and pressure, a special contrast dye is injected into the heart, showing up as a bright white shadow. By capturing motion x-ray pictures of the dye’s travels, doctors can see:

  • the shape of the heart structures
  • the flow of blood through the heart and lungs

In this way, cardiac catheterization helps diagnose congenital heart defects as well as helping doctors more accurately pinpoint problem areas of an already-known condition.

Treating Congenital Heart Defects

Great advances have been made in recent years in minimally invasive surgeries, including those for some congenital heart defects. Medical City Children’s Hospital is proud to offer the latest tools, techniques and technology for performing treatment-based cardiac catheterization surgeries.

Using the same procedure as a diagnostic cath, cardiologists are able to conduct repairs through the flexible tubes inserted into heart structures. For example, some atrial septal defects (holes in the heart walls) can be fixed via cath insertion of a closure device.

Conversely, arteries or other areas that are too small or narrow can be expanded via cardiac catheterization.

When at all possible, congenital cardiac specialists at Medical City Children’s Hospital will opt for minimally invasive procedures to treat your child.

About Your Child’s Heart Catheterization: Download this comprehensive guide to learn more.

Child Life Services

Cardiac procedures can be stressful for children. The way a child deals with stress can depend on many things, including the child’s age. It is our belief that if we can lessen the child’s stress, we can provide a better overall experience and quicker healing.

Child Life Services provides invaluable resources for helping your child cope with surgery and other medical procedures. Child Life Specialists use play therapy, videos, games, music and more to help explain things in ways that children can understand and that help relieve stress, provide distraction and make for a less fearful experience. Child Life Services are available to every patient who requests this service.