Cardiac Catheterization Program
Columbia's Cardiac Catheterization Program is the largest program of its kind in New York State. Our interventional cardiologists perform more than 1,200 diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac procedures each year, on patients who range in age from minutes old to adults. We routinely provide second opinions and treat complex patients who have not found successful treatment elsewhere.
What To Expect
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally-invasive procedure that is used both to diagnose and treat heart problems. Our interventional cardiology team performs these procedures in a specialized suite equipped with the most advanced 3D imaging capabilities. Using imaging to guide long, thin tubes called catheters through the blood vessels, our team can directly view the heart, and access it for treatments that used to require open-heart surgery.
Cardiac catheterization is performed by cardiologists who have one or two years of additional, specialized training in catheter-based procedures. We work closely with every specialized heart program at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Our interventional cardiologists have also been involved in studies of almost every new catheter-placed device and transcatheter procedure, and nearly every major study trial of devices and transcatheter therapies over the past 15 years.
Precise Diagnosis of Heart Problems
Many heart problems can be diagnosed using non-invasive imaging, such as echocardiogram, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We use cardiac catheterization when we need information that cannot be obtained from imaging alone. During a catheterization procedure we can see how blood flows to and from your child's heart, look at a heart valve that might not be working properly, obtain blood or tissue samples, or locate the source of an abnormal heartbeat. The high number of procedures we perform each year means that our physicians have extensive experience with diagnosing the full range of heart issues, from the most simple to the most complex.
Recent technological advances have changed the way we treat heart problems in children and adults, and open-heart surgery is often no longer necessary for congenital or acquired heart defects. Our internationally-recognized physicians have been at the forefront of these developments and have extensive experience with every type of catheterization treatment. We perform all procedures in our state-of-the-art, digital cardiac catheterization suites designed for and dedicated to the children and adolescents in our program. Some of the conditions we treat using catheterization procedures include:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD)
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
- Ventricular septal defect
- Aortic valve stenosis
- Pulmonary valve stenosis
- Mitral valve stenosis
- Single ventricle heart defects
Over the past decade catheterization has revolutionized treatment for people with pulmonary valve problems. Not long ago patients underwent multiple surgeries throughout their lifetimes to replace prosthetic pulmonary valves each time they wore out. With a catheterization procedure called transcatheter pulmonary valve implantation, pulmonary valves can now be implanted during a procedure performed through a catheter inserted in the groin. Our physicians have implanted more than 200 pulmonary heart valves since the technology became available, putting us at the forefront of this groundbreaking treatment.
Using new technology we also perform other complex procedures including the closure of atrial septal defects (ASD) and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). We have closed more than 500 ASDs and 700 PDAs since new technology became available.
A Team of Experts
Members of the cardiac catheterization team at Columbia are world leaders in the development and use of almost every new catheter-based device and therapeutic transcatheter procedure. The team that supports our interventional cardiologists includes nurses, technicians, child life specialists, and cardiac anesthesiologists who all specialize in this type of procedure.