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Before the procedure

  • Your child will have a pre-procedure workup within a month of the catheterization. This may include blood work, chest x-ray, echocardiogram, medical history and physical.
  • All female patients over the age of 12 years and those who have started menstruating will need pregnancy testing (blood test).

Day of the procedure

  • If running late, please call the Catheterization Lab directly at 617-726-7400.
  • You may park in any of the MGH parking garages. You will be given a discounted rate because your child is a patient of MGH.
  • Take the “E elevators” to the Catheterization Laboratory waiting room on Blake 9, also called “The Knight Center for Interventional Cardiology.”
  • Two adults are allowed to go with the child into the cath lab and may stay until the child is sedated.
  • Consents must be signed by the child’s parent or legal guardian if the child is under 18 years of age. A parent or guardian must be present on the day of the procedure.
  • All make-up and nail polish must be removed. Contact lenses must be removed, so bring glasses if necessary.
  • You can wait in the Family Waiting Room while your child has the procedure. If you leave the waiting area, please inform the front desk.

During the procedure

  • Your child will likely receive general anesthesia for the procedure.
  • The procedure usually takes from one to four hours.
  • The catheter (flexible tube) is inserted into one or two blood vessels, usually in the groin area.
  • It is guided up the blood vessel(s) toward the heart, and the cardiologist uses x-rays to help see the catheter move. When to call your Cardiologist.

After the procedure

  • You will be updated with the status of your child’s procedure.
  • You can see your child after the procedure.
  • You will go with your child and the staff to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), located on Bigelow 6. You will then be asked to remain in the PICU waiting room while your child is being settled. You can be with your child after that.
  • Your child will need to lay flat for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Your child may need to stay overnight.

If your child develops a fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or any concerning symptoms within 72 hours (3 days) of the procedure, please call the MGHfC Pediatric Cardiology office (617-726-3826) and ask to speak with the Pediatric Cardiologist on-call.

Rev. 5/2012. This document is intended to provide health related information so that you may be better informed. It is not a substitute for a doctor's medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions.