Right Heart Catheterization

The Right Heart Catheterization is the advancement of a catheter through the right side of the heart into the pulmonary artery circulation. It is indicated for patients with dyspnea, valvular heart disease, intracardiac shunts, and heart failure.

To perform the Right Heart Catheterization, venous access should be obtained with the introduction of a 7fr or 8fr access sheath. As the pulmonary catheter is advanced through the venous circulation toward the pulmonary artery, pressure measurements and blood saturations are obtained.

Complications associated with the Right Heart Catheterization include: ventricular arrhythmias, heart block, ventricular perforation, pulmonary rupture, and air embolism. Special attention should be given to the monitors during the advancement of the pulmonary catheter to observe for these complications.

The Right Heart Catheterization is often done in combination with the Left Heart Catheterization. Simultaneous pressure measurements of the left and right sides of the heart provide critical information for the evaluation of heart and valvular abnormalities.

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