The Morning of Cardiac Catheterization:
A few days before the test you should talk to your child about coming to the hospital. Explain that the test is necessary and that the doctors and nurses are there to help. Many hospitals have pre-admission programs to help children deal with the hospital experience. Ask you cardiologist if this is available. One or two days before the test you will need to take your child to the hospital pre-admission area to complete forms and have blood and urine tests. The office will infirm you where and when to go.
On the day of the test your child is allowed clear liquids, such as apple juice or water until 2 hours before the test, but should not eat anything. If your child is having general anesthesia these times will be different. Check with your cardiologist’s office or nurse coordinator. At the hospital an I.V. will be started in your child’s hand. This is to insure that your child gets enough fluids during the test and also to allow I.V. sedation medicine to be given during the test to help your child sleep. EMLA, a local anesthetic cream, will be placed on your child’s groin, over the artery and vein. This cream will numb the skin and make catheter insertion less uncomfortable. Local anesthetic, carbocaine, (like dentists use), will be used to numb the area fully before the catheter is placed.
About 45 minutes before the test your child will get a premedication. This may be a medicine to drink for young children, or a shot for older children. After this your child will become drowsy and should not be left unsupervised. The staff will transport your child to the Cath Lab for the test.