Heart Cath is a medical procedure that is used to diagnose and treat some heart conditions. It is an invasive imaging procedure which is used to make tests for certain heart diseases by allowing the doctor to see the way the heart is functioning.
The procedure is done by inserting a narrow tube called catheter into a blood vessel in arm or leg which is then guided to the heart with the help of a x-ray machine.
Heart cath is usually used to evaluate heart muscle function,confirm possible presence of a heart disease,determine if there is any need for further treatment and some other similar functions.
It is a common procedure in most countries of the world when it comes to detecting some serious heart problems.
When people go to such procedures they often want to know what are the possible risks.Generally,heart cath is usually safe,still it is an invasive procedure so there are some risks but there are some extra precautions to decrease them.
These rare risks include bleeding around the point of puncture,blood clots,infections,stroke,heart attack and other some other minor problems.
Before the procedure,most people need to have routine blood tests,chest x-ray and urinalysis that are performed within two weeks before.
The nurse and doctors give people some instructions about the food and drink that can be consumed before the heart cath. It is important to inform the doctor about the medications used recently or even about some dietary supplements.
Everything considering the procedure,about preparation and the time after it is done, each person should speak about it with the doctor or nurse to avoid problems that may occur.
Heart cath is not so serious procedure and usually there are no problem during the test but some extra precaution is needed.
The heart is the most important muscle in the body as it keeps blood circulating throughout your system. When there is a problem with the heart, you should get it examined as quickly as possible to determine the problem. People of all ages can have issues with their hearts, even young children. One of the most common heart problems in kids are heart murmurs.
What is a Heart Murmur?
Normally, your heart makes a “lub-dub” sound as the values in your heart open and close, allowing blood to flow through it. A heart murmur is an abnormal sound heard as your heart beats, causes by turbulent blood that is in or near your heart. A murmur is detected when a doctor listens to your heart with a stethoscope. Many heart murmurs don’t need treatment and will resolve themselves. However, sometimes a heart murmur can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.
Heart Murmur Symptoms
Anytime you are dealing with a heart condition, you need to be aware of symptoms so you can get your child into their pediatrician to identify the medical condition that your child may have. Usually when your child as a mild heart murmur, called an innocent heart murmur, they may have no other symptoms and their pediatrician will diagnose it when they listen to their heart beating.
More serious heart murmurs indicating a heart condition will most likely be accompanied by other symptoms, including:
- Shortness of Breath
- Chronic Cough
- Sudden Weight Gain
- Blue Skin, Especially at the Fingertips and Lips
- Enlarged Neck Veins
- Enlarged Liver
- Poor Appetite
- Failure to Grow Normally in Infants
- Heavy Sweating with Little or No Exertion
- Chest Pain
If you suspect a heart murmur, make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician. They will examine your child and they can determine whether it is an innocent heart murmur or something that needs more attention.
Grading Heart Murmurs
Murmurs are graded based upon their loudness. A Grade 1 murmur is the softest-sounding murmur and it goes up to Grade 6, which is the loudest sounding murmur. Murmurs that are graded from 4 to 6 have the loudest sounds and you can often feel the rumbling under a child’s skin when you place your hand on their chest.
Causes of Heart Murmurs
Innocent heart murmurs are fairly common in infants and children. With an innocent heart murmur, they have a normal heartbeat. A more serious murmur, called an abnormal heart murmur, can indicate a more serious heart condition. The cause of abnormal heart murmurs in children can be congenital heart disease, a hole in the heart, fevers, anemia, a narrowed or leaky heart value.
Types of Heart Murmurs
Aside from innocent and abnormal heart murmurs, there are three different types of heart murmurs. They are:
Systolic Murmurs – they occur during the contraction of the heart. Systolic murmurs are further divided into ejection murmurs and regurgitant murmurs. Ejection murmurs are caused by blood flowing through a narrowed blood vessel or a heart valve that is irregular. Regurgitant murmurs are due to mitral or tricuspid regurgitation as the blood leaks into the atria from the heart’s ventricles.
Diastolic Murmurs – occur when the heart relaxes between beats. They can be caused by a narrowing, called stenosis, of the mitral or tricuspid valves or regurgitation of the pulmonary or aortic heart valves.
Continuous Murmurs – occur during the entire cycle, both when the heart contracts or relaxes after a beat.
Diagnosing a Heart Murmur
If your pediatrician thinks that a heart murmur needs to be examined further, you will be referred to a pediatric cardiac specialist for further tests. They have an X-ray done to see how big the heart is, then they will probably order an electrocardiogram, known as an EKG. The EKG measures the electrical activity of the heart.
Sometimes the doctor will have an echocardiogram done as well. This test is done with an ultrasound machine, which uses sound waves to take pictures of the heart as blood is pumping through its chambers and valves. A heart cath may also need to be done to determine the cause of a murmur.
The heart cath procedure, is a minor procedure that involves threading a narrow tube into a blood vessel in the arm or leg and threading it up into the coronary arteries. It uses a special x-ray machine to take pictures and let the doctor see what problems there are with the heart.
Treatments for Heart Murmurs
An abnormal murmur may be treated in many ways. Medications may be prescribed to help squeeze the heart hard, to lower blood pressure or to remove extra fluids from the body. Surgery may be needed to repair holes in the heart, fix a valve or to repair a blood vessel.