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Swan-Ganz - right heart catheterization


Alternative Names:

Right heart catheterization; Catheterization - right heart

How to prepare for the test:

You should not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the test starts. You may need to stay in the hospital the night before the test. Otherwise, you will check in to the hospital the morning of the test.

In critically ill patients, the test may be done in the intensive care unit.

You will wear a hospital gown. You must sign a consent form before the test. Your health care provider will explain the procedure and its risks.

How the test will feel:

You may be given sedation to help you relax before the procedure, but you will be awake and able to follow instructions during the test.

You may feel some discomfort when the IV is placed into your arm and some pressure at the site when the catheter is inserted. In critically ill patients, the catheter may stay in place for several days.

You may feel discomfort when the area of the vein is numbed with anesthetic.

Normal Values:
  • Cardiac index is 2.8 to 4.2 liters per minute per square meter (of body surface area)
  • Pulmonary artery systolic pressure is 17 to 32 millimeters of mercury (mmHg)
  • Pulmonary artery mean pressure is 9 to 19 mmHg
  • Pulmonary diastolic pressure is 4 to 13 mmHg
  • Pulmonary capillary wedge pressure is 4 to 12 mmHg
  • Right atrial pressure is 0 to 7 mmHg
What abnormal results mean:

Abnormal results may be due to:

  • Blood flow problems such as heart failure or shock
  • Heart valve disease
  • Lung disease
  • Structural problems with the heart such as a septal defect
What the risks are:

Risks of the procedure include:

  • Bruising around the area where the catheter was inserted
  • Injury to the vein
  • Puncture to the lung if the neck or chest veins are used, causing lung collapse (pneumothorax)

Very rare complications include:

References:

Davidson CJ, Bonow RO. Cardiac catheterization. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2011:chap 20.

Kern M. Catheterization and angiography. In: Goldman L,Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 55.


Review Date: 7/11/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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