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Cardiologist examining smiling girl with stethoscope

Cardiac Catheterization Program

To make an appointment with a specialist in our Cardiac Catheterization Program call 212-305-6069.

ColumbiaDoctors's Cardiac Catheterization Program is the largest program of its kind in New York State. We provide treatment to patients with congenital and acquired heart conditions from birth into adulthood, and perform more than 1,200 diagnostic and therapeutic congenital cardiac catheterizations each year on infants who may be only minutes old to adult patients who have congenital heart disease and/or pulmonary hypertension. Approximately 20 percent of the procedures we perform are on “grown-up” patients.

Cardiac catheterization is a specialized procedure performed in infants and children. It was originally used to provide additional diagnostic information and now serves as a therapeutic intervention to improve—and frequently correct—underlying congenital heart conditions, avoiding the need for open heart surgery.

Our internationally recognized interventional team of physicians performs all types of currently approved transcatheter therapies in three state-of-the-art, digital, OR-ready or “hybrid” cardiac catheterization suites designed for and dedicated to patients with congenital heart disease. Two of these procedure suites are at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and the third is a dedicated suite for adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) at Milstein Hospital. These specialized suites enable us to:

  • Accommodate surgical, trans-catheter, or other collaborative procedures.
  • Coordinate specialized procedures and adjust our approach to the many forms of complex congenital heart disease.
  • Acquire CT-like, 3-dimensional visuals using specialized digital capabilities including rotational angiography, a medical imaging technique.

Some of the common therapeutic catheterization procedures we perform in our specialized catheterization suites include:

  • Balloon dilation or angioplasty of narrowed blood vessels such as narrowings in the pulmonary arteries (pulmonary artery stenosis) or narrowings of the thoracic aorta (coarctation of the aorta).
  • Balloon dilation of valves in the heart (valvuloplasty) for valves that are congenitally “tight” or stenotic. 
  • Intravascular stent dilation or the placement of stents inside blood vessels to relieve narrowings of important arteries and veins in the body. This is most often performed for blood vessels that have narrowed because of scarring after surgery for congenital heart disease. Previously placed surgical conduits also are commonly stented to help prolong the longevity of a conduit and decrease the number of overall surgeries a patient with congenital heart disease may require over a lifetime.  
  • Implantation of trans-catheter heart valves. Notably, we have implanted more than 100 transcatheter heart valves in the pulmonary position. We have also implanted these catheter-based valves in the tricuspid and mitral valve positions in patients with congenital heart disease who would otherwise require surgical valve replacement procedures. Transcatheter closure therapies for holes in the atrial and ventricular walls (septal defects) and persistent or unwanted blood vessels like a persistent patent ductus arteriosus or PDA. Our team of physicians have been world leaders in the development and use of these technologies and have successfully closed more than 500  septal defects and 700 patent ductus arteriosus since such technology became available.

Our interventional cardiologists participated in early studies of almost every new catheter-placed device and therapeutic transcatheter procedure and took part in nearly every major multi-center FDA trial for devices and transcatheter therapies performed in the US over the past 15 years, including:

  • Medtronic Melody® and the Edwards LifeSciences (Edwards-Sapien) transcatheter heart valve in the pulmonic position
  • Use of covered Cheatham Platinum Stents for treatment of vascular wall injury 
  • Post-market trial for Amplatzer® septal occluder device and ventricular septal occluder device

We contribute to national registries to enhance patient care by promoting quality improvements and to develop outcome assessment methods for pediatric catheterization. Registries include:

  • National Cardiovascular Data Registry’s IMPACT Registry™ (Improving Pediatric and Adult Congenital Treatment)
  • Congenital Cardiac Catheterization Project on Outcomes
  • Congenital Cardiovascular Interventional Study Consortium