Why Choose Us?

If your child needs a heart catheterization, there’s no better place in the West for that procedure than Primary Children’s Hospital. We are one of the largest pediatric catheterization programs in the West, with three full-time cardiologists who specialize in pediatric cardiac catheterization and perform over 600 heart catheterizations each year.

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We offer state-of-the-art technology and innovative approaches to treat congenital heart disease. Whenever possible, we choose minimally invasive approaches to treat common congenital heart problems; like holes in the heart and narrowed or dysfunctional valves. These problems can often be treated by catheterization rather than open-heart surgery. This allows patients to leave the hospital feeling better sooner, and with only a band-aid rather than a surgical scar. 

Why might my child need a cardiac catheterization? 

Cardiac catheterization gives healthcare providers detailed information about the heart and blood vessels. It may be used for the following reasons: 
  • To evaluate the heart and blood vessels of patients with heart or lung conditions, including birth defects of the heart, heart diseases, heart failure or lung diseases. 
  • To treat heart and blood vessel problem, such as holes in the heart, narrowed or dysfunctional heart valves or abnormal blood vessels. 
  • To evaluate the heart and blood vessels of a patient after a heart transplant. 

What is cardiac catheterization? 

During this procedure, an interventional cardiologist (heart doctor) inserts a long, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in your child’s groin or neck.

The catheter is then threaded to the heart and major blood vessels of the lung and body and the cardiologist may perform one or more of the following procedures:

  • Diagnostic catheterization: Measuring the pressure and oxygen in the blood to assess the heart and blood vessels.  This is typically done before the cardiologist proceeds to a corrective or interventional catheterization.

  • Angiography: Taking pictures of the heart chambers and/or blood vessels, using x-rays and x-ray dye (also called “contrast”).  This is done with all cardiac catheterizations.

  • Valve replacement: Using a catheter to insert a new heart valve (See Melody valve link to the right of this page).

  • Balloon valvuloplasty or balloon angioplasty: Using a catheter with a balloon to enlarge a narrow heart valve or blood vessel. This helps the blood flow more freely through the heart and blood vessels.

  • Closing a septal defect: Using a catheter to place a device that closes a hole between two chambers of the heart.

  • Balloon atrial septostomy: Using a catheter with a balloon to enlarge a hole between the upper chambers of the heart. For babies with certain heart defects, this allows them to have more oxygen in their blood before the defects are repaired.

  • Occlusion of blood vessels: Closing abnormal blood vessels with a metal coil or a device that is delivered through a catheter. This prevents the blood vessels from causing various problems, depending on their location in the body.

  • Stent placement: Using a catheter to insert and expand a stent (a wire support) to keep a blood vessel open.

  • Heart biopsy: removing small pieces of muscle from the inner surface of the heart. This helps doctors see what the heart muscle cells look like. This is typically done after a heart transplant. It may also be done if the doctor suspects an infection in the heart muscle. 
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What to Expect

Learn what you can expect prior to, during and after inventional cardiology procedures.

Meet Our Team


Robert G. Gray, M.D.

Robert G. Gray, MD is Director of the Pediatric Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories of the University of Utah at Primary Children’s Hospital. Dr. Gray’s clinical interests include general Pediatric Cardiology as well as Interventional Cardiology in children and adults with congenital heart disease.

Mary Hunt Martin, M.D.

Mary Hunt Martin, MD is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and joined the faculty of the University of Utah in 2012. Dr. Martin’s clinical interests include general Pediatric Cardiology and Adult Congenital Heart disease, as well as Interventional Cardiology in children and adults with congenital heart disease.


Ronald W. Day, M.D.

Ronald Day, MD is board certified in Pediatric Cardiology and is a Professor of Pediatrics. Dr. Day´s clinical interests include Pediatric Cardiology and Pulmonary Hypertension. He is the director of the Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program at Primary Children’s Hospital. 

Interventional Cardiology at Primary Children's Hospital