A Right Heart Catheter is used to measure the pressures within in the righthand side of your heart and the blood vessels inside your lungs.
Your doctor may recommend a right heart catheter if you are suspected to have increased blood pressure within the lungs (pulmonary hypertension), heart failure or valvular heart disease.
Your doctor may also repeat the test at varying intervals to see if the disease has progressed or assess how you have responded to treatment.
While serious complications are very unlikely, there are some risks.
The most common risk for this procedure is bruising or swelling at the point where the catheter enters the body. This usually resolves within a couple of days.
Uncommon risks can include:
Your doctor will explain all of the risks in detail before you agree to the surgery – and you’re also encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns.
Your doctor will ask you to sign a consent form to agree to have the procedure.
Your right heart catheter takes place in a hospital room that looks like an operating theatre. You’ll be taken to the procedure room and be asked to lie on a narrow table. You will be awake throughout the procedure, and before it begins your doctor may offer you sedation to help you relax.
During the procedure your doctor will:
Once your right heart catheter is finished, your nurse will apply pressure to the area, followed by a dressing. You will be moved to the recovery area or to the ward to rest. You may be tender or sore and have some bruising at the site of the procedure – this should go away after a couple of days.
You will need to organise for someone to pick you up you from the hospital afterwards and take you home.