Dell Children’s Regional Heart Center, a partnership with UT Southwestern Medical Center, provides comprehensive subspecialty care to children and adolescents with congenital and acquired heart disease. This care is made possible by our state-of-the-art catheterization lab with two 1,100 square foot procedure rooms. There, our team of skilled pediatric cardiologists, aided by specially trained pediatric cath lab technicians and nurses, perform cardiac catheterizations to diagnose and treat heart conditions in children. Often, the procedures allow for minimally invasive interventions for problems which previously required open heart surgery for correction.

How to Prepare Your Child for a Cardiac Catheterization

While a cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure, it’s understandable that as a parent you might be concerned for the safety and comfort of your child. A Parent’s Guide to Cardiac Catheterization provides helpful information on our cath labs, what to expect on your visit and tips on how to prepare your child for the procedure.

Cardiac Cath FAQ

What is a cardiac catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a test that allows the pediatric cardiologists to learn more about the structure and function of the heart and related blood vessels. This is done by measuring pressures and taking pictures within the heart. Based on this information, an intervention may be considered.

Why is a cardiac catheterization necessary?

A cardiac catheterization is used to diagnose a structural or functional heart problem, learn more about a heart problem, treat a heart problem with an intervention or obtain cardiac tissue samples.

How is a cardiac catheterization performed?

The catheterization lab is a room with specialized monitoring and X-ray equipment. Here, your child will be sedated by a cardiac anesthesiologist. The pediatric cardiologist will then insert a long, flexible tube made of plastic into a large blood vessel in the arm or leg, and then thread it carefully into the heart. These tubes are called catheters, and they allow your child’s doctor to measure pressures, draw blood samples and take detailed pictures. These measurements are used to determine how well the heart functions and if there are any structural problems. Based on this information, an intervention may be considered.

Interventions include:

  • Closing holes within the heart
  • Enlarging narrowed valves and blood vessels
  • Closing unwanted blood vessels
  • Treating abnormal heart rhythms, also called arrhythmia