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Right Heart Catheterization


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.

Right Heart Catheterization


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

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

Limit activity as directed:

  • Avoid unnecessary stair climbing for 48 hours, if a catheter was put in your groin.
  • Do not place pressure on your arm, hand, or wrist, if the catheter was placed in your wrist. Avoid pushing, pulling, or heavy lifting with that arm.
  • If you need to cough, support the area where the catheter was inserted with your hand.
  • Ask your healthcare provider how long you need to limit movement and avoid certain activities.
  • You may feel like resting more after your procedure. Slowly start to do more each day. Rest when you feel it is needed.

Drink liquids as directed:

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

Wound care:

Ask your healthcare provider about how to care for your incision wound. Ask when you can get into a tub, shower, or pool.

Contact your healthcare provider 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 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.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
    • and any of the following:
      • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.