March 30, 2023
Right Heart Catheterization

Right Heart Catheterization Explanation

A right heart catheterization is a test used to see how well the heart pumps and measure the pressure of blood in the heart and the main blood vessels of the lungs. This is different from left heart catheterization. This is known as cardiac catheterization.

Do you know when and where it first performed? It was first performed in 1929 by a surgical resident named ”Werner Forssmann” in Germany on a human by inserting a 65 cm urethral catheter on himself through his left antecubital vein.

How Can We Define Right Heart Catheterization?

A test used to see how much blood is pumped by the heart per minute and measure the heart’s blood pressure and main blood vessels is known as right heart catheterization.

An invasive hemodynamic procedure also measures the right-sided cardiac pressures and calculates the cardiac output. This catheterization is also called pulmonary artery catheterization.

Why is Right Heart Catheterization Needed?

Right heart catheterization is not used for normal people. A right heart catheterization is suggested when found with high blood pressure in his lungs and assessed for a heart, lungs, or another organ transplant, which is essential.

Procedure For Right Heart Catheterization

A cardiologist or a pulmonologist does the right heart catheterization on a patient by maintaining a special procedure in a special room designed for this purpose. Do you know the procedure of right heart catheterization? Let’s see the procedure.

  1. The patient will be awakened in this procedure, but the body area (where the procedure will be done) will be numbed.
  2. A vein in the arm (radial) or groin ( femoral) will be used in this procedure. The neck area is also in this procedure.
  3. The doctor will make a small incision to insert a thin, long tube named a catheter. This catheter is guided to the heart and the pulmonary arteries. This procedure is used to check the pressure of this area.
  4. The patient will be asked to hold his breath, cough, bear down, and do other activities.
  5. Nitric acid may help the blood vessels in the lungs relax. Doctors also will monitor if the blood pressure of the vessels is affected.
  6. An IV may also give a saline solution to see the effects of fluid on blood pressure.
  7. If you are having this procedure after a heart transplant, Doctors may take a small tissue sample (biopsy) to check if there is any sign of organ rejection and see how the heart works.

What To Do After Right Heart Catheterization?

Do you know what you should do after having a right heart catheterization? This is very important to know about it. Let’s try to know.

  1. After this procedure, most of the patients are allowed to go home.
  2. The patient shouldn’t drive after the procedure; he may feel more comfortable if someone drives him to his home.
  3. He shouldn’t bend down or lift, push or pull for the next 2 to 4 hours after having the procedure.
  4. A patient with a heart catheterization should go to an intensive care unit (ICU) for some extra tests and should take some treatment if the pressure of the heart or lungs is very high and the heart doesn’t pump enough blood.

Is Right Heart Catheterization Safe or Not?

A patient should know the risks and benefits of having a right heart catheterization. The doctor will ask to sign a consent form before starting the procedure. Would you please let the doctor know about your questions and concerns about the procedure?

There are rare complications but may include:

  • Infections
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Mild skin reactions ( like a sunburn)
  • Heart attack
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Lung collapse
  • A build-up of fluid around the heart
  • Extremely rare pulmonary artery rupture
  • Damage to the pulmonary artery could cause death. Tan emergency surgery can fix the artery patient should say to the doctor if they are:
  • ¬†Allergic to local or general anesthesia (medicines used to make the patient sleepy), latex tape.
  • ¬†Pregnant or thought to be pregnant. A pregnancy test may be done for the safety of the patient.
  • Consumer of medications used to thin blood Examples; include Coumadin (warfarin), Pradaxa (dabigatran), Eliquis (apixaban), and Xarelto (rivaroxaban). The patient should know if he needs to change how he takes the medications before starting the procedure.

Right heart catheterization is a difficult term in the cardiovascular system. You are suggested to study more online or consult any specialist if you want to dig into this topic.

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