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Pulmonary Artery Catheterization

Overview :

Pulmonary artery catheterization, sometimes called Swan-Ganz catheterization, is usually performed at the bedside of a patient in the intensive care unit. A catheter is threaded through a vein in the arm, thigh, chest, or neck until it passes through the right side of the heart. This procedure takes about 30 minutes. Local anesthesia is given to reduce discomfort.

Once the catheter is in place, the doctor briefly inflates a tiny balloon at its end. This temporarily blocks the blood flow and allows the doctor to make a pressure measurement in the pulmonary artery system. Pressure measurements are usually recorded for the next 48-72 hours in different parts of the heart. During this time, the patient must stay in bed so the catheter stays in place. Once the pressure measurements are no longer needed, the catheter is removed.

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