Cardiac Catheterization and Intervention
What to Expect

What to Expect at Your First Appointment at the Cardiac Catheterization Lab

The expert and compassionate health professionals in the Cincinnati Children's Cardiac Catheterization Lab are on the leading edge of catheterization care for children with heart disease. Using innovative procedures, we complete more than 800 cases every year.

We are here to answer any questions you have and to partner with you to provide the highest level of care possible for your child. In fact, you will have a pre procedure visit or phone call to discuss concerns. You will also have time the actual day of the procedure.

Here's what you need to know to prepare.

Making an Appointment at the Cardiac Catheterization Lab

If your child needs an appointment with the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, your cardiologist will refer you. Before scheduling a cardiac catheterization, one of our interventional cardiologists will review your child's medical information with your primary cardiologist.

After Making the Appointment

Someone from central scheduling will call you to schedule a pre-procedure visit, generally made the day prior to your child's catheterization. You won't need to fill out any forms or provide any medical records. One of our nurse practitioners may call you to gather more information about any other health or dental issues your child may have. You can also call us with any questions.

On the Day of Your Pre-Procedure Visit

Please keep in mind that our hospital is a big place. You may want to arrive about 30 minutes before your child's appointment—15 minutes to park and walk to our Cardiac Clinic and 15 minutes to check in. The pre-catheterization clinic is located on the 4th floor of Building C (also called “C4”) in the main hospital.

If you're running late, please call to let us know.

Your child won't need to wear any special clothing for this appointment. Feel free to bring any toys, tablets, or comfort items that can soothe and distract them during your visit. They may eat and drink like normal for this visit.

At Your Pre-Procedure Appointment

Your pre-procedure appointment will last roughly half a day. During this time, we will discuss your child's medical history and identify any other issues that must be addressed before the procedure. In addition to completing any lab work and necessary imaging exams, our cardiology nurses and catheterization lab nurse practitioners will walk you through the day of the procedure step-by-step and provide you with written instructions so you can reference it at home. That includes when your child should stop eating before the procedure, explaining any medications they will need to take beforehand, when you should arrive for the procedure, and any additional locations you must visit on the day of the procedure.

If your child qualifies for a research study, one of our clinical research professionals will review the information with you and invite you to participate. Being part of a research study isn't required — the choice to join a study is up to you and your child. And please know that we will provide our best care whether you choose to participate or not.

On the Day of Your Procedure

Before Your Procedure

The nurse practitioners will instruct you when to arrive during the pre-procedure visit or phone call. Like your pre-procedure visit, please allow an additional 15 minutes to park and walk to the catheterization unit. The catheterizations are performed on the 6th floor of the A building at the main hospital. When you arrive, please come to the A1 Welcome Desk then use those elevators to come to A6. You can access the catheterization check-in desks through the glass-enclosed waiting room directly across from the elevators. If you're running late, please let us know.

Your child may bring a toy, tablet, or another comfort item for distraction. Once you've arrived at the catheterization unit, your child will change into a hospital gown.

At Your Procedure

The catheterization procedure typically lasts between two and four hours. During that time, we'll regularly keep caregivers updated on our progress. Post-procedure care lasts an additional two to four hours, and many patients stay overnight in the hospital.

During the procedure, many of our health care providers will work with your child, including:

  • Interventional cardiologist
  • Cardiology registered nurse
  • Catheterization lab nurse practitioners
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Health care trainees, including resident/fellow physicians and students

After Your Procedure

Once the procedure is over, our interventional cardiologist will come to discuss the case with you directly. We will also call your child's referring cardiologist to discuss the outcomes. You will also be scheduled for a return visit with your referring cardiologist, typically within one to six months.

When to Call

If you have questions after your visit, please call or email our nurse practitioners.