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Swan-ganz Catheterization

Swan-ganz Catheterization

Alternate Names

  • right heart catheterization
  • catheterization, right heart
  • Normal Heart


During the Swan-Ganz catheterization, a thin flexible tube is inserted into the right side of the heart to measure and monitor its functions.

How is the test performed?

Swan-Ganz catheterization is done in the hospital. First, the patient is given a mild sedative to help him or her relax. Then, an intravenous line is inserted into a vein in the arm to allow drugs to be delivered during the procedure.
The procedure itself involves inserting a thin flexible tube, or catheter, into a large vein in the neck, groin, or arm. This catheter is then threaded all the way into the right side of the heart.
To begin, an area of skin on the neck, groin, or arm is cleaned with an antiseptic. A local anesthetic is injected at the site to numb the area. A small incision is made at this site. Then, the Swan-Ganz catheter is inserted and threaded to the heart.
Once in the heart, the catheter is passed through the right atrium and the right ventricle. From there it goes into the pulmonary artery.
The positioning of the end of the catheter is sometimes guided by X-ray images. Heart function during the procedure is monitored by electrocardiography (ECG), a recording of the electrical activity of the heart.

What is involved in preparation for the test?

A person will receive specific instructions from his or her healthcare provider. Often, a Swan-Ganz catheter is placed during emergency situations, such as after a heart attack, when there is little time to prepare.

What do the test results mean?

Normal values for various heart functions are as follows:
  • pulmonary artery systolic pressure, 15 to 30 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury)
  • pulmonary artery average pressure, 9 to 17 mm Hg
  • pulmonary diastolic pressure, 5 to 10 mm Hg
  • pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, 5 to 15 mm Hg
  • cardiac index, 2.4 to 3.8 liters per minute per square meter of body surface area
  • right atrial pressure, 0 to 5 mm Hg
Abnormal test results may indicate heart disease, shock, heart valve disease, or lung disease.

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