Heart Catheter

In the next week or two, Hannah is scheduled to have a heart catheter done. It’s a test that’s a precursor to the bigger surgery which collects more information about her heart from the inside. She’ll be under general anaesthetic and in hospital overnight to monitor things afterwards.

Here’s an explanation of a heart catheter from the Heart Centre for Children:

“The catheter is a fine, hollow, flexible tube, which is usually introduced into the artery and/or vein on either or both sides of the groin. Sometimes other entry sites are used, such as the arm or neck veins. The catheters are introduced through one to two millimetre needle holes.

The catheter is guided by the doctor carrying out the procedure, using sophisticated x-ray equipment. The end of the catheter is passed into the heart chambers and main arteries and veins. Blood pressure measurements and oxygen levels are measured at these points to help determine heart function.

A special fluid, containing iodine, is injected via the catheter to outline the heart chambers and blood vessels more clearly. This is called an angiogram. This is recorded on special equipment and retained on a CD. This information can be critical when deciding how best to treat abnormalities of the heart.

In some cases, special catheters with sausage shapedballoons attached, can be used to enlarge narrowings. Sometimes various plugs or coils are introduced through the catheters to close off abnormal connections between blood vessels or holes in the partition between the heart chambers. Most abnormalities, however, will still need surgery to be repaired.”


Isn’t that an amazing? The sorts of things doctors are able to continues to astound me. It’s obviously not something that has zero risk, but should be pretty straightforward. Hannah will be in hospital overnight for monitoring afterwards. Then once the results of the test are back we’ll meet with her surgeon to discuss when the bigger surgery (called the Fontan) will be scheduled.

As with other surgeries she’s had, this one could be postponed right up to the last minute.  That is one of the harder parts of this journey, preparing mentally and physically for something and then having the adrenalin let down when it gets delayed. But, when those things happen I try to remember it’s because another child is sicker than Hannah, and needs surgery or the bed in hospital more urgently than her. I stop and pray for that child and their family, whoever they might be, which I find gives me a better perspective and compassion for that family’s experience.

Please pray for…

  • Hannah’s catheter surgery to go smoothly and collect information the surgeons need to treat her condition effectively.
  • Energy preparing and looking after her, and patience waiting if it is delayed.
  • Other families currently in hospital, for perseverance and peace in our Heavenly Father’s love.
(Image from: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cardiac-catheter.html)



Psalm 23

Recently I’ve been writing a picture book for Hannah about her heart journey. It’ll be the way we share with Hannah a little about her surgeries as a baby and why she gets so tired now.

It’s been harder than I expected, as I process my own emotions and memories of the experience, and think about how to love her in the words and photos I choose.

But seeing how far she’s come fills me with so much thankfulness and joy. Most of the book focuses on the skills she’s learnt and the things she enjoys, because of the help the doctors have given her to grow big and strong.

One thing I’ve chosen to include at the end is a paraphrase of Psalm 23 from Hannah’s favourite kids Bible, the Jesus Storybook Bible. Here it is…

God is my Shepherd
And I am his little lamb.
He feeds me
He guides me
He looks after me.
I have everything I need.
Inside, my heart is very quiet.
As quiet as lying still in soft green grass
In a meadow
By a little stream.
Even when I walk through
the dark scary, lonely places
I won’t be afraid
Because me Shepherd knows where I am.
He is here with me
He keeps me safe
He rescues me
He makes me strong
And brave.
He is getting wonderful things ready for me
Especially for me
Everything I ever dreamed of!
He fills my heart of full of happiness
I can’t hold it all inside.
Wherever I go I know
God’s Never Stopping
Never Giving Up
Always and Forever
Will go, too!

You can read the usual version of Psalm 23 here.

Please pray for…

  • Hannah’s upcoming specialist appointments with new doctors she hasn’t met before.
  • Patience loving each other, particularly when Hannah gets tired quickly and probably feels a bit miserable but doesn’t know why.
  • Hannah’s and our hope and comfort to be in Jesus, the Good Shepherd who sustains and protects us all.