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Myocardial biopsy


Definition:

Myocardial biopsy is the removal of a small piece of heart muscle for examination.

Alternative Names:

Heart biopsy; Biopsy - heart

How to Prepare for the Test:

You will be told not to eat or drink anything for 6 - 8 hours before the test. The procedure takes place in the hospital. Most often, you will be admitted the morning of the procedure, but in some cases, you may need to be admitted the night before.

A health care provider will explain the procedure and its risks. You must sign a consent form.

How the Test will Feel:

You may feel some pressure at the biopsy site. You may have some discomfort due to lying still for a long period of time.

Normal Results:

A normal result means there was no abnormal heart muscle tissue.

What Abnormal Results Mean:

An abnormal result means abnormal tissue was found. This test may reveal the cause of cardiomyopathy. Abnormal tissue may also be due to:

Risks:

Risks are moderate and include:

  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding from the biopsy site
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Infection
  • Injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve
  • Injury to the vein or artery
  • Pneumothorax
  • Rupture of the heart (very rare)
  • Tricuspid regurgitation
References:

Liu P, Baughman KL. Myocarditis. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 70.

Massie BM. Heart Failure: Pathophysiology and diagnosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 58.


Review Date: 5/13/2014
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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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