Catheter procedures for congenital heart conditions

Cardiac catheter lab (photo by Jonathan Upton)We perform around 280 catheter procedures a year on people with congenital heart conditions.

A catheter is a fine, hollow, plastic tube. It can be inserted into your vein or artery either in the groin or the arm and guided through the blood vessels.

It can be used for diagnosis and evaluation to take pictures of the blood vessels and look at the structure of the heart, as well as taking pressure measurements.

Some heart conditions can also be treated using a cardiac catheter. These are called interventional cardiac catheter procedures and include:

  • Closure of atrial septal defect(s) (ASD) and ventricular septal defect(s) (VSD) – commonly called a “hole in the heart”. 
  • Balloon angioplasty. This is a treatment to widen arteries that have become narrow and clogged that are narrowed from birth such as coarctation of aorta (COA).
  • Stent insertion. This involves using the catheter technique to insert a stent to secure or make safe an artery, such as the aorta that may have an aneurysm or ballooning of the vessel.

Congenital cardiac services are able to carry out very complex catheter procedures due to our state-of-the-art equipment, computer software and imaging facilities.