Your Child's Cardiac Catheterization for Coarctation of the Aorta
Your Child’s Experience: Cardiac Catheterization for Coarctation of the Aorta (COA)
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure
done on the heart using a thin, flexible tube (catheter). It’s done by a cardiologist
specially trained to treat heart problems using these catheters. The procedure lasts
about 2 to 4 hours. It takes place in a catheterization lab. You’ll stay in the waiting
room during the procedure.
Before the procedure. You’ll be told whether to keep your child from eating or drinking anything for a certain amount of time before the procedure. Follow these instructions carefully.
During the procedure. Your child
is given medicine (sedative or anesthesia) to help them relax and not feel pain
during the procedure. A breathing tube may be placed in your child’s trachea
(windpipe) during this time. Special equipment monitors your child’s heart rate,
blood pressure, and oxygen levels. The catheter is put into an artery in the groin.
With the help of live X-rays, the catheter is advanced up through the artery to the
aorta where the defect is located. Contrast dye may be injected through the catheter.
The dye allows the inside of the aorta to be seen more clearly on X-rays. A balloon
at the end of the catheter is used to widen the narrowed area. A wire mesh tube
(stent) may also be placed to prevent narrowing from occurring again. This is often
done in older children. Once the narrowed area has been widened, the catheter and
balloon are removed.
After the procedure. Your child
is taken to a recovery room. You can be with your child during much of this time. It
may take several hours for the medicine to wear off. Pressure is put on the catheter
insertion site to limit bleeding. The healthcare provider will tell you how long your
child needs to lie down and keep the insertion site still. Your child is cared for
and monitored until they can leave the hospital. Your child will likely need to stay
in the hospital overnight.
Risks and complications of cardiac catheterization
Reaction to contrast
Reaction to sedative or anesthesia
Pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, or drainage at the catheter insertion site
Heart rhythm problem
Injury to the heart or a blood vessel
Some narrowing remains and
more surgery may be needed
When to call the healthcare provider
After cardiac catheterization
procedure, call the healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the
Increased redness, draining, swelling, or bleeding at the incision or insertion site
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or
higher, or as advised by your child's healthcare provider
Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
Cough that won’t go away
Nausea or vomiting that continues
What are the long-term concerns?
After repair of COA, most children can be active and participate in sports and other physical activities.
Your child will need regular
follow-up visits with the cardiologist. The number of visits may decrease as your
child grows older. COA may reoccur over time. Your child may need more treatment
when they are older.
Medicines may be prescribed
to treat problems such as high blood pressure. This is common in children with a
history of COA. It often affects older children.
Your child may need to take antibiotics before having any surgery or dental work for 6 months after the procedure. This is to prevent infection of the inside lining of the heart or valves. This infection is called infective endocarditis. Antibiotics should be taken as directed by the cardiologist.
Online Medical Reviewer: Scott Aydin MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Pat F Bass MD MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Lu Cunningham
Date Last Reviewed:
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