Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe
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Paediatric IR techniques

What are paediatric interventions?

Paediatric interventions are interventional radiology procedures which are offered as a treatment option for children. These procedures usually mean that children can avoid undergoing conventional surgery.

Broadly speaking, all minimally invasive procedures which can be performed in adults can also be performed in babies and children.

How does the procedure work?

In order to minimise the stress experienced by the child, interventional procedures in children are usually carried out with the patients sedated or under general anaesthesia.

While the materials are usually the same as those used in adults, the devices used tend to be smaller to avoid injuries to the babies and children.

Microparticles (resin particles smaller than a grain of sand) and coils (small metal spirals) are used in the same way as in adults.

Why perform it?

Interventional procedures in children are performed for the same reasons as in adults, because they are a minimally invasive treatment for a number of conditions, including bleeding, drainage of fluid collections and treating abnormalities in veins.

What are the risks?

In general, interventional procedures carry the same risks in children as they do in adults. Minor risks include bruising at the entry point for the catheter, usually in the groin. More significant risks include the possibility that the microparticles or coils move to a different part of the body and block other artery branches, as well as the risk to the structures of the veins and allergies to the contrast agent used for imaging. It is important that dose radiation is carefully controlled.

However, all the risks of paediatric interventions are rare, occurring in less than 0.5% of cases.


1. Brenner DJ. What we know and what we don’t know about cancer risks associated with radiation doses from radiological imaging. Br J Radiol. 2013 Nov 6.