Preparing for Cardiac Catheterization

Before Your Child’s Cardiac Catheterization

Prior to the procedure, your doctor will order several diagnostic tests. These could include an echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to create a picture of your child’s heart; an electrocardiogram to record the heart’s electrical activity; a cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CAT scan.

If your child has been ill or is taking antibiotics, let your doctor know. The procedure may need to be delayed until your child feels better. Also tell your doctor about any medications your child is taking.

Your child should not eat or drink anything starting about 8 to 12 hours before the procedure. (Your doctor will give you specific instructions on timing.) This includes solid food and milk/formula. It is important that your child have an empty stomach before he or she undergoes anesthesia. Your child may be hungry, so other family members may want to avoid eating or drinking in front of them.

Other Tips

  • Give your child a bath the night before.
  • Bring some of your child’s favorite things, such as toys or games, a blanket, books or pacifiers.
  • Bring an overnight bag in case your child needs to be hospitalized.

On the Day of Your Child’s Procedure

When you check in, staff will take your child’s pulse and blood pressure and may give medications to make him or her sleepy before going into the cath lab. An IV may be placed at this point. Along with our nurses, cardiologists and anesthesiologists, a child life specialist will also be available to help comfort your child and make the experience easier.

A typical cardiac catheterization will take from one to three hours. Afterwards, your child will recover for several hours so that nurses can monitor his or her progress. Your child should be able to eat and drink before going home.

After the Procedure

The day after the catheterization, you or your child can remove the bandage and replace it with a small adhesive bandage. Avoid baths, swimming and hot tubs for one week. Your doctor will tell you when your child can resume normal activities, typically within a week of the procedure.


Your Care Team

Dr. Zahid Amin

Dr. Kenneth Murdison