Children's Hospital Colorado

A World First: Children's Colorado Implements 3D Intracardiac Echocardiography in Pediatrics

Children's Hospital Colorado | December 19, 2021

Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) is the first pediatric hospital in the world to use a 3D intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) catheter in the treatment of congenital heart disease in our Cardiac Catheterization Lab (Cath Lab). The live, 3D image guidance provided by the recently FDA-approved technology from Phillips allows cardiac interventionalists to better navigate complex procedures, which is expected to result in improved outcomes. The first two pediatric patients were successfully treated at Children’s Colorado in early December.

Improved navigation without additional time or risk

The ICE catheter uses traditional intracardiac echocardiography (echo) combined with 3D echocardiography, miniaturized to fit on the tip of the catheter. Cardiac interventionalists are able to use the new technology to navigate through a patient’s heart during interventional procedures in the cath lab, without any significant additional time, risk or access points.

3D ICE image quality a 'huge step forward'

“The quality of images we are able to acquire with the 3D ICE catheter is a huge step forward,” said Gareth Morgan, MD, congenital interventional cardiologist with Children’s Colorado. “In our first few cases, we already have a better understanding of the complex interaction between newly implanted valves and a patient’s anatomy. We expect this will contribute to expanding treatment options for patients who might not otherwise have been good candidates for cath lab procedures.”

Superior visualization with 3D ICE

Ultrasound imaging during cardiac catheterization procedures typically relies on transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) imaging, in which the probe is passed down the patient’s throat and into their esophagus, until it lies next to the heart. TEE requires the patient to be sedated or given general anesthesia, which carries an additional degree of risk. With ICE, a miniature ultrasound is used to navigate to the patient’s heart via their vasculature – the same route used during minimally-invasive cardiac procedures in the cath lab – therefore, general anesthesia may not be required. Notably, it puts a 3D echo probe in the center of the heart, allowing visualization of structures such as percutaneous pulmonary valves that cannot be clearly seen with other types of imaging.

First and only pediatric center with 3D ICE technology

As the only pediatric center with 3D intracardiac echocardiography, Children’s Colorado has added to its array of unique high-tech imaging solutions, which justify its claim to providing the most comprehensive cath lab imaging of any children’s hospital in the world.

Highly specialized heart care at much lower risk

“At our Heart Institute, we lead the way in providing access to the latest minimally-invasive treatments for pediatric heart conditions for our patients,” said Dr. Morgan. “While other hospitals still perform open-heart surgery for many heart conditions, we are able to correct many more heart defects in our Cath Lab, which allows us to provide highly-specialized care at much lower risk.”

Performing nearly 700 cardiac surgeries and more than 1,000 cardiac catheterizations per year, Children's Colorado's Heart Institute is the largest pediatric heart center in the Rocky Mountain region and is nationally ranked for heart care and surgery by U.S. News & World Report.