May 5, 2011

Catheterization For Child Heart Defects

(Ivanhoe Newswire)"”Researchers say doctors should consider using catheterization as a treatment tool for children with heart defects. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), at least one-half million children in the U.S. suffer from some form of cardiac problem. Researchers now say catheterization should be considered as an option for some of these pediatric patients.

A catheter is a flexible tube inserted through a narrow opening into a blood vessel. It can be used to inject dye into the arteries near the heart to illuminate the vessels through X-ray technology. It can also open a valve, enlarge or close off a blood vessel, or close a hole in the heart. Although catheterization procedures can be risky for patients, researchers now say it could be a good option for children with heart defects. The AHA's statement is a major overhaul from their statement released in1998.

"What we can offer patients now, versus just 10 or 15 years ago, is remarkably different," Timothy F. Feltes, M.D., lead author of the statement and chief of pediatric cardiology and professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University, was quoted as saying. "There have been tremendous advances in the procedures, devices, experience and the expertise of the physicians who perform the procedures. As physicians caring for patients with congenital heart disease, we have to look at heart catheterizations a little differently than we have in the past."

The AHA's new statement provides an extensive list of techniques that are now considered as options for pediatric patients with congenital heart disease. Some of the 22 new therapeutic options include catheter-based techniques in order to improve blood flow through the heart, repair holes in the heart, repair or replace faulty valves, and remove arterial blockages.

The news is significant for cardiologists who treat pediatric heart defects, because there are few other sources of information. Researchers say since so few children have heart disease it's difficult to design clinical trials and do side-by-side comparisons.

SOURCE: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, May 2, 2011