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Congenit Heart Dis. 2010 Mar-Apr;5(2):118-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0803.2010.00385.x.

Procedural complications during congenital cardiac catheterization.

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Department of Pediatrics/Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



We sought to identify complications that occurred during congenital cardiac catheterization (CCC) and determine factors that could improve the quality of care provided to patients with congenital heart disease during this procedure.


We reviewed the electronic medical record for 903 CCC cases, (455 female; mean age = 29 +/- 22 years, range = birth to 91 years) performed in our catheterization laboratory from 2005 to 2007. Included in this cohort are 342 cases performed on patients less than 18 years of age. Clinical follow-up data were reviewed for 3 months postcatheterization. Complications were assigned a grade from 1 to 4 based on severity.


The indication for catheterization was diagnostic in 459 (51%) patients, interventional in 386 (43%) patients, and endomyocardial biopsy in 58 (6%) patients. Mean intravenous contrast dose = 1.9 +/- 1.8 mL/kg. Mean fluoroscopy exposure = 22 +/- 13 minutes. Mean procedure duration = 122 +/- 42 minutes. Although 806 cases (89%) were performed without complication, 102 complications were observed in 97 cases. There were no deaths. Emergent surgery was performed in four patients. One patient notified us 16 days after catheterization that she was pregnant. The result of that pregnancy was normal. Thirty complications occurred during the CCC procedure and a first year fellow was involved in 17. Patient age, weight, gender, attending physician, or type of procedure (diagnostic vs. intervention) did not impact risk of complications.


Patients of all ages with congenital heart disease can expect a safe procedure with minimal risk of serious complications. Procedural changes that have been implemented include pregnancy testing on all menstruating females prior to CCC regardless of history of sexual activity, and first-year fellows are now directly supervised by the attending physician rather than a more senior fellow throughout the procedure.

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