Children are made to move, explore and experience the world firsthand. At Phoenix Children’s Center for Heart Care, we don’t want anything to slow down your child. Our team of cardiology specialists provides expertise in interventional cardiology procedures, ensuring your child receives optimal care that is tailored to his or her needs.

Interventional cardiology may be an option to diagnose or treat your child’s heart condition. This minimally invasive therapy, called cardiac catheterization, uses a tiny, flexible catheter that is inserted into your child’s blood vessel to fix your child’s heart defect and help improve heart function.

And because there are no major incisions like there are in open-heart surgery, your child may recover faster and experience less pain, which helps them get back to the important business of being a kid.

At Phoenix Children’s, we perform over 500 cardiac catheterization procedures every year in state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs. We treat infants, children, adolescents and adults for many heart conditions that once required surgery.

Understanding Pediatric Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization (or “heart cath”) is a safe procedure that can provide effective treatment of many heart defects – often with faster recovery and less pain. Your child’s cardiologist may recommend a cardiac catheterization to evaluate or treat certain heart conditions. Our pediatric heart specialists use these technologically advanced, minimally invasive approaches for a variety of reasons:

  • Collect blood samples from the heart chambers
  • Measure pressures in the heart chambers
  • Measure oxygen levels in the heart chambers
  • Examine and open narrowed or blocked blood vessels and valves
  • Implant stents, which keep blood vessels open 
  • Close holes or other structural defects with various devices
  • Obtain a small piece of heart muscle tissue, called a “biopsy,” for analysis
  • Implant a new heart valve for certain valve disorders

During your child’s procedure, the cardiologist will access a blood vessel, typically in their upper thigh. Then, they will gently insert a small, flexible, hollow catheter into the vessel and to their heart. A special X-ray machine is used to guide this careful and precise journey from leg to heart.

Advanced imaging technologies and injectable dyes help doctors see tiny blood vessels and examine blood flow. Many children are able to go home the same day, although some children may need to spend one night in the hospital, depending on their age and the procedure performed. Your child’s care team will discuss what you can expect before, during and after your child’s procedure.

Specialized Care to Heal Your Child’s Heart

Anyone who is able to spend time around a child knows kids aren’t just small adults. Their bodies and minds are in a constant state of exploration, growth and development. Our pediatric interventional cardiologists know this firsthand.

With specialized training not just in the innovative procedures of their field, but also extensive training in pediatrics, they understand that what works for adults doesn’t always work for kids. We bring this insight and understanding to every patient and family we see, which delivers better outcomes for you and your child.