CATHCHAT is a novel live online teaching and learning platform for interventional paediatric cardiac catheterisation. It is aimed at stimulating interventional cardiac catheterisation, aimed especially, but not exclusively, at developing capacity in Africa.

How does it work?

When transmitted online, local and international audiences are invited to log in and witness the procedures in real time.  Being able to view all the imaging available to the operators, the online audience can follow the procedure in high-definition, step-by-step detail.  By typing comments and questions on the same platform to an informed “producer” (an interventionalist), viewers are able to interact directly with the cath lab.  The producer answers the typed questions, directing questions at the operators when appropriate.

The power of CATHCHAT is that renowned interventional experts are simultaneously invited to log in to watch the procedures and advise the operators live. The logged-in audience witnesses this interaction. This system is therefore a simultaneous teaching and learning tool to the on-site interventional team as well as the logged-in audiences: an observed master class, at no cost.


Only pre-registered or known viewers are given the login details (register here) – the procedures are not open to the public, and the producer monitors logged-in viewers. All cases are transmitted anonymously without viewing the patient (under drapes), and with fully informed consent from the parents or guardian. In the unlikely event of resuscitation being required, the transmission is immediately cut.

What is our motivation and vision?

In Africa, paediatric cardiologists receive training in general cardiac catheterisation during their subspecialist cardiology training. However, extended expert interventional skills and knowledge is usually gained over a period of time by undergoing fellowship training at overseas centres, and attending costly interventional congresses internationally. Consequently, there is a shortage of fully trained, specialist interventional paediatric cardiologists in Africa and only limited opportunities for such training exist.

A growing number of catheterisation laboratories are beginning to appear in Africa, but often are not fully operative due to a shortage of skilled cardiologists and/or consumables. However, there is an even greater, dire shortage of facilities for paediatric congenital heart surgery, in particular: cardiac surgeons, cardiac surgical theaters and post-operative intensive care facilities. The incidence of paediatric heart disease is equal to, or may even exceed that of developed countries and the majority of affected children will receive no treatment. Interventional cardiac catheterisation has the promise of beginning to address this need of noncomplex CHD repair (approximately 30% of the disease burden). It does not require cardiac surgical or intensive care facilities to repair many of the common, simpler congenital heart defects, such as ASDs, PDAs, pulmonary stenosis and even some VSDs. Training to perform interventional repair expertly is not arduous and methods for the development of skills exist.

CATHCHAT aims to assist in the development of capacity for interventional paediatric cardiac catheterisation.

To see what you will experience online, go to: “what you get