Prior to Procedure
A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
- Blood and urine tests
—a test that uses sound waves to visualize functioning of the heart
(ECG, EKG)—a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the chest
You will be told whether your child needs to stop taking certain medication.
Ask when your child should stop eating or drinking before the surgery.
Description of the Procedure
Your child will receive IV fluid and medicines through a vein in his arm. The catheter (small tube) will be inserted either in the arm or groin. Next, electrodes will be placed on the chest. These electrodes will send information to the EKG machine, allowing the heart to be monitored.
A catheter will be inserted in the blood vessel and advanced so the end is in the heart. Dye will be injected to allow the doctor to view x-ray images of the heart. An echocardiogram may also be used. Before the hole can be covered, the doctor will need to find out the size of the hole. A catheter with a balloon attached to it will be sent to the upper chambers of the heart. The balloon will inflate and measure the hole.
Once the size of the defect is known, another catheter will be sent to the heart. This catheter will have a device attached. There are different types of devices available. Some are able to open so that the hole is covered on both sides. Other devices open like an umbrella to cover the defect. Once the device is placed, the catheter will be removed. Lastly, a bandage will be placed over the insertion site.
At the Hospital
When your child is recovering at the hospital, the hospital staff may:
- Do tests, such as an EKG, chest x-ray, and blood tests.
- Have your child lie still and flat for several hours. This is to prevent bleeding.
- Place a pressure bandage to reduce bleeding.
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids to flush the dye from his body.
- Give pain medication to ease discomfort.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your child's chance of infection such as:
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your child's incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your child's chances of infection such as:
- Washing your hands and your child's hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your child's healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your child's incisions
When your child returns home, do the following:
- Encourage your child to rest. Have him avoid strenuous activities. He will slowly return to his normal routine.
- Follow all of the doctor’s instructions.