Right Heart Catheterization


Right Heart Catheterization (Discharge Care) Care Guide

Right heart catheterization is a procedure to check the pressure in your heart and lungs. It is also called a Swan-Ganz or pulmonary artery catheterization. You may need this procedure if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or decreased oxygen in your body. You may also need this procedure if you need heart surgery or have a heart condition.


Follow up with your primary healthcare provider (PHP) or cardiologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Limit activity as directed:

If the catheter was put in your leg, keep your leg straight as much as possible. If you need to cough, support the area with your hands. If the catheter was put into your arm, try not to move your arm. Ask your cardiologist how long you will need to limit movement of your arm or leg.

Drink liquids as directed:

Liquids help flush the dye used for your procedure out of your body. Ask your cardiologist how much liquid to drink each day, and which liquids to drink. Some foods, such as soup and fruit, also provide liquid.

Wound care:

Carefully wash the incision wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. Ask when you can bathe.

Contact your PHP or cardiologist if:

  • You have a fever.

  • The skin around your wound is red, swollen, or has pus coming from it.

  • You have trouble breathing, or your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • The area where the catheter was placed is swollen and filled with blood or is bleeding.

  • The leg or arm used for the procedure becomes numb or turns white or blue.

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:

    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns

    • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm

    • Trouble breathing

    • Nausea or vomiting

    • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.

  • You cough up blood.

  • You have weakness or numbness in your arm, leg, or face.

  • You are confused and have problems speaking or understanding speech.

  • You have a severe headache or feel dizzy.

  • You have vision changes or loss of vision.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.