Skip to main content

New cardiac cath lab opens at Children’s Hospital

Apr. 7, 2021, 3:14 PM

The new cardiac catheterization lab at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt features expanded space to better meet growing procedure volumes.
The new cardiac catheterization lab at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt features expanded space to better meet growing procedure volumes. (photo by Susan Urmy)

by Jessica Pasley

A new, state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab debuted recently at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to meet the growing volume of the Pediatric Heart Institute.

As the ninth busiest pediatric cardiac surgical program in the country, the expansion will include Hybrid Cath Lab capabilities to allow for collaboration between cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists in the cardiovascular procedural suite that combines all the features of a traditional cardiac surgery operating room with those of a cath lab.

“This lab has about twice the space of our existing area,” said Dana Janssen, MD, associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital. “And with the Hybrid component, it meets all the requirements for it to be a fully working operating room.

“While I am excited about the new space, the high-tech equipment and ability this will allow us in meeting the growing needs of our patient population, I am really excited about having a team of dedicated nurses, anesthetists and radiology technicians who will be specially trained to take care of our patients.

“This new space will allow us to not only serve our cardiac patients in a timely fashion, but they will have a place dedicated to their care and recovery.”

For years the care team has worked in a space that served both the cath lab and electrophysiology lab. Currently, the cath lab performs about 800 cases annually. The previous space saw a combined caseload of 1,200. The program is on pace to exceed those numbers in 2021.

The expansion, which brings the number of rooms to three, will allow the teams to better meet the growing procedure volumes. It will also house a 10-bed holding and recovery area. Staffing will also be increased.

The cath lab is designed to diagnose and treat both pediatric and adult patients living with adult congenital heart disease with an emphasis on family-centered care.

Children’s Hospital is leading the way in providing access to the latest minimally invasive cardiac catheterizations and treatments for pediatrics that allow teams to correct more heart defects in the cath lab rather than perform open-heart surgery. In turn, the hospital can provide highly specialized care on premature infants with lower radiation exposure and a shorter recovery period.

The space will also incorporate video link technology to enable the cardiac ICU and ECHO Lab teams to have direct contact with the cath lab to discuss patient findings. This real-time communication will enable a seamless hand off following procedures.

Sara Hightower, RN, CNOR, clinical staff leader, is encouraged by the additional space and the impact it will have on both patients, families and staff. The addition of a holding room and recovery space with highly trained cardiac nursing staff will improve the transition of care, she said.

“Having the ability to help patients and families in a timely fashion, decrease wait times and perform more procedures is always a positive,” said Hightower. “The hybrid capabilities will provide us a better opportunity to perform complex coordination of care procedures as well as hybrid cardiac procedures.

“The new imaging has the ability to magnify the heart and vessels at a much higher level, giving our interventional cardiologists a better view of the vessels they are working with.”

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

Vanderbilt Medicine
VUMC Voice