Cardiac catheterization lab

Pediatric cardiologists at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee treat many heart conditions in infants and children of all ages without surgery, thanks to advancements in cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology techniques. These procedures, plus many diagnostic tests, are performed in the cardiac catheterization (cardiac cath) lab. Our team of cardiac catheterization specialists performs more than 450 cath lab procedures every year.

Hybrid cath lab increases treatment options

The cath lab at Children's is a “hybrid cath lab,” which means it also serves as an operating room. As a result, if a diagnostic test uncovers a child’s need for a surgical treatment, we can easily perform many such procedures on the spot. Because of this, children experience fewer procedures, less pain, less anesthesia time, faster recovery, shorter hospital stay, and generally safer, more efficient care as compared to that provided in standard cath labs. We are one of the few pediatric heart centers in the Midwest to have a hybrid cath lab.

About cath lab diagnostic procedures

In the hybrid cath lab, pediatric cardiologists take a closer look at the heart by guiding an ultra-thin catheter through a vessel into the heart. Using specialized equipment, they can take pictures (angiograms) of the heart’s vessels and structures, measure blood flow and blood pressure, and take samples for a tissue biopsy. Pediatric electrophysiologists can also use electrophysiology studies in the cardiac catheterization lab to diagnose heart rhythm problems.

Treatments in the cath lab

When treating a heart defect, Herma Heart Center pediatric cardiologists use the least invasive procedure necessary. Children's Hospital leads the way when using catheterization to repair congenital (present at birth) heart disease like atrial, ventricular, and arterial defects. Our innovative approaches have led to lower complication rates as compared to similar pediatric centers around the country.

For complex conditions, heart repair procedures performed in the cath lab include creating a hole in the heart to allow proper blood flow, closing small holes inside the heart, and placing stents (wire, tube-like devices) in narrowed arteries to keep them open and blood flowing. Learn more about cardiac catheterizations.

In addition, pediatric electrophysiologists correct abnormal cardiac rhythms (arrhythmias) in the cath lab with pacemaker implantation, ablations and other electrophysiology procedures.

Multiple locations

To make it more convenient to get the best heart care for kids, Herma Heart Center offers cardiac catheterization at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and in Marshfield. Several clinics for follow-up care are located throughout the state, as well. Learn more about Herma Heart Center locations.