Let Afi and ZoZo tell you about Cardiac Caths

That was a lot, let’s break it down…

Believe it or not, but your heart and all of its connecting veins and arteries are like one big piping system. Both a pipe system and your cardiovascular system have tubes, twists, and turns. And just like sometimes something can go wrong with plumbing, something can go wrong with your heart. Your parents have probably had to fix a shower or sink in your house, and the way they have done it, could be similar to the way your doctor will perform a catheterization. Imagine the catheter is like a pipe cleaner. It is long, thin, and can move through a tube (or your veins) very easily. It is helpful because it can unclog a blockage in a pipe, or if something is attached to its end, it can repair a leak. Imagine if every time your parents had to undo all the pipes to fix a shower or a sink? That would be messy and a lot of work! Doctors don’t want to do that either! So when they are looking at and fixing your heart, they keep all the tubes and pipes together by using a catheter!

What you can expect after a cardiac catheter procedure:

  1. You will need assistance getting out of bed. That’s okay, be sure to ask for it!

  2. You may need to pee more frequently, that’s normal!

  3. You can also expect a bruise where the catheter was put in; this should disappear within 2 weeks.

  4. It is also normal to feel tired the first two days after the procedure.

You want to tell your parents or doctor if:

  1. You see blood near the cath.

  2. You feel any numbness or tingling in your fingers or toes.

  3. You feel dizzy or your head begins to hurt.

  4. You have a fever.

  5. Or if there is something dripping from where the doctor inserted the cath.

See how much you’ve learned! Take this short quiz:

Check out what our friends at the American Heart Association have to say about cardiac caths!