Viable Heart Disease Treatments for Children

Widely prevalent heart problems among children are detected with the commonly employed procedure known as cardiac catheterization. In certain situations, it assists in mending heart ailments that earlier needed open-heart surgery. The procedure is conducted in a Paediatric Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory also known as the ‘cath lab’.

As infants possess smaller-sized hearts and blood vessels, the experts treating them would need to be fully-equipped with both specialised equipment as well as knack wise. A special form of sedation and supervision is needed in case of children due to their size, age factor and varying capacity to cooperate.

The cath lab used during the procedure is well-endowed with top-notch imaging apparatus and computers used for fluoroscopy, digital movies and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.


During the procedure, fine, pliable narrow tubes known as catheters are introduced via the blood vessels to the heart. These catheters could be endowed with miniscule devices for mending the flaws like blockage in blood vessels or holes.

heart diseaseUsually, a small incision is done on the groin or neck region for inserting the catheter within the artery. Latest imaging technology is employed for guiding the catheter to the problematic site in a blood vessel or heart.

Catheterization could help in determining any kind of narrowing in the blood vessels in the heart, whether the heart is pumping and blood flow is normal, whether the heart valves are appropriately working and whether there are any heart anomalies.

In certain situations, catheterization is employed for treating heart ailments wherein the catheters could cart patches for mending holes present in the heart, coils for closing blood vessels, balloons for opening constricted vessels or heart valves and metal tubes known as stents for keeping the vessels open.

These procedures involve:

  • Balloon Arterioplasty and Valvoplasty – This procedure involves the insertion of a balloon located at the tip of a catheter that is introduced within the tapered opening in a clogged blood vessel or malformed heart valve and then pumped up to open the vessel or elongate the valve aperture and take apart the valve leaflets.
  • Coils – Coils are employed for repairing a condition known as patent ductus arteriosus wherein a blood vessel that is normally closed following birth remains open, or for closing other undesired blood vessels known as collaterals. Catheters are employed as channels for placing small-sized metal coils into the ductus vessels that would obstruct blood flow.
  • Patches – Numerous devices are presently obtainable for patching holes in the heart. The kind and size of the apparatus is decided following an X-ray and echocardiogram movie pictures ascertain the size and position of the hole. At times, just one device in not enough and more than one devices would become necessary for totally closing the hole. The folded patch is directed via the catheter till it is placed in the appropriate position. It is then unfolded so as to snugly fit over the aperture. Subsequent to being placed, in a span of three months, the lining of the heart wall would show growth totally covering the patch and thereby shutting the hole.
  • Stents – Stents also known as metal tubes are utilised for opening the blockage in the blood vessels. The stent is decided upon following a measurement of the extent of narrowing of the blood vessel. At times, additional stents would be required for mending the vessel. The stent would be positioned over a deflated balloon located at the end of the catheter. As the catheter reaches the constricted location, the balloon is blown up for widening the blood vessel. The stent would provide support to the lately broadened vessel walls as soon as the catheter and balloon are taken out.
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