Medical Illustrations

Picture of Heart Catheter

Picture of Heart Catheter

A heart catheter is a medical device that is threaded through a vein or artery and advanced to the heart. Heart catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure that may be used to repair heart defects. The procedure is less traumatic than open heart surgery and patients tend to experience quicker recovery times.

Heart catheter procedures may be performed to fix atrial septal defects. During the procedure, the catheter is advanced to the area containing the hole in the heart. An umbrella like device is deployed from the end of the catheter and it plugs up the hole. The catheter is withdrawn once the device is in place.

Heart catheters may also be used to treat pulmonary valve stenosis. For this procedure, the catheter is positioned in the pulmonary valve. A balloon on the end of the catheter is inflated to open the leaflets of the valve.

Echocardiogram, transesophageal echocardiogram, or angiogram are used to visualize the location of the catheter and to monitor these types of procedures.

Innovative procedures may use heart catheters to repair complex heart defects.

Image Source: MedicineNet, Inc.

Text Reference: American Heart Association: "Cardiac Catheterization"