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Following a detailed cardiac assessment as an outpatient, your treatment options may include

  • medical management, such as prescription drugs
  • cardiac intervention, such as catheter-based treatments to insert stents or to close holes in the heart
  • surgery.

Our inpatient facilities

Our adult ward is E2, caring for patients from 16 years old who are newly diagnosed as well as those continuing their care with us.

The ward medical and nursing teams work very closely with the outpatient team to plan and manage your care, and to make sure that you're always included in any decisions about your treatment.

We have a state-of-the-art catheter lab with complex imaging equipment that is specially used for patients with congenital heart problems.

The lab is also adjacent to the cardiac operating theatre and MRI scanner, meaning that different elements of care are very close together and reducing the risk of complications.

Catheter procedures

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.

We can perform very complex catheter procedures thanks to our state-of-the-art equipment, computer software and imaging facilities.

Surgery for congenital heart conditions

We perform around 300 open-heart operations per year on people with congenital heart conditions.

Common operations include:

  • closing holes in the heart
  • opening up and restoring or repairing heart valves
  • opening up arteries

We perform highly complex surgery on patients who only have one main pumping chamber (ventricle) in their heart. Single ventricle surgery is about re-routing the patient's blood supply to ensure that they can pump blood round their body effectively. Southampton is the leading unit in the country for performing this type of operation, and takes single ventricle patient referrals from all over the UK.