Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory

Cardiac Catheterization

Our state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratory provides diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterization for patients of all ages -- from newborns to adults -- with congenital heart disease.

We have the most advanced equipment, so procedures can be performed with less radiation and better visualization of the anatomy. Our new 3-D rotational angiography system, for example, allows us to view a child's anatomy from multiple angles and can help clarify complex problems. It also allows for simultaneous CT scanning, making it possible to visualize structures in the chest other than the heart (such as the airways and lungs).

Our laboratory is directed by John Moore, M.D., M.P.H who along with Howaida El-Said, M.D.,Ph.D performs diagnostic and interventional procedures.

About the Procedures

Diagnostic catheterization is performed when echocardiography and/or other imaging modalities do not adequately show the structures of the heart and related blood vessels. In addition, diagnostic catheterization is used to help understand the functioning of the heart and related blood vessels.

Interventional catheterization is performed to treat a number of relatively simple congenital heart defects, such as the narrowing of blood vessels and heart valves, abnormal blood vessels, and abnormal openings between chambers of the heart (such as coarctation of the aorta, pulmonary branch stenosis, pulmonary valve stenosis, aortic valve stenosis, patent ductus arteriosus, atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect). Cardiovascular devices such as coils, septal occluders and stents are commonly used in these interventional procedures.

General anesthesia is provided to patients for almost all procedures, and anesthesia equipment is built into the laboratory.

For a typical patient, diagnostic catheterization takes approximately two hours and interventional catheterization about three to three and a half hours.

Patient Instructions

Because patients will receive anesthesia, they should follow specific instructions from the cardiology team regarding eating or drinking prior to the testing.

When coming for a scheduled catheterization, patients must arrive at the reporting time, which is usually an hour and a half to two hours before the actual start time. This time is used to check into the hospital, complete the required paperwork and consent forms, and to prepare for the catheterization. On the day of the catheterization, patients check in at the pre-surgical area at Rady Children's.