Article Text

Download PDFPDF
How to plan and perform a diagnostic catheterisation in adult patients with congenital heart disease
  1. Zachary L Steinberg1,
  2. Harsimran S Singh2
  1. 1 Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2 Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zachary L Steinberg, Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA; zsteinberg{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Learning objectives

  • Recognise the importance of an in-depth clinical assessment of each patient, including a complete surgical and medical history, prior to performing diagnostic cardiac catheterisation in patients with congenital heart disease.

  • Understand the steps required to obtain accurate haemodynamics in patients with congenital heart disease.

  • Identify pathology with high-quality angiograms in patients with congenital heart disease.


The importance of a well-performed cardiac catheterisation in adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) cannot be overstated. Despite the modern-day diagnostic benefits of echocardiography and cross-sectional imaging, diagnostic cardiac catheterisation remains the most accurate method of assessing intracardiac filling pressures, valve gradients, shunt lesions and, in many cases, anatomy. When properly performed, cardiac catheterisation serves as a tool to guide decisions for medical and invasive intervention, identify causes of occult symptoms when non-invasive image has failed to do so and aid in prognostication.

Given the anatomic variability and haemodynamic complexities of patients with CHD, cardiac catheterisation is often performed at CHD specialty centres by cardiologists with expertise in CHD, per the 2018 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) Guidelines for the Management of Adults with Congenital Heart Disease (Class I, Level C).1 However, as the population of adults with CHD continues to increase, many of these patients are being seen and cared for in the community.2 3 The purpose of this manuscript is to review some of the common tools and techniques employed by interventionalists who specialise in CHD to serve as a guide for any who may be called on to perform diagnostic cardiac catheterisations in the service of their patients.

The approach to catheterisation in patients with CHD differs from those with anatomically normal cardiovascular systems in a few key ways. Often, patients with CHD have undergone one or more surgical or transcatheter interventions altering their original anatomy and physiology. …

View Full Text


  • Twitter @SimranSinghMD

  • Contributors Both authors have contributed meaningfully to this manuscript and approve of the manuscript as submitted.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Author note References which include a * are considered to be key references.