Right Heart Catheterization
A right heart catheterization is a test
that permits your doctor to inspect the inside of your heart's right
side, where blood returning from the body is pumped into the lungs
for a fresh supply of oxygen.
How is the test is performed?
In this test, the tip of a catheter
(a long, thin, bendable tube) is inserted into a vein under your
collarbone, in your neck, or in your arm or groin. Using a TV screen
and x-rays, the physician then threads the catheter along the vein,
through the heart, and into the blood vessels going to your lungs.
During the procedure, doctors can check blood pressure in the chambers
of the heart, measure the oxygen level of the blood in different
parts of your heart, and examine the valves between the chambers
of your heart. The test takes about 1 to 2 hours. You may go home
afterwards or stay in the hospital overnight.
How the test will feel:
Although you will receive
sedation to relax you prior to the test, you will be awake and able
to follow instructions during the test. An incision is made into
a vein to allow catheter insertion, but local anesthetic is given
and the only sensation is one of pressure at the site if insertion.