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The right side of the heart receives blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The blood picks up oxygen in the lungs. A right heart catheterization (also called pulmonary artery catheterization) tests the blood pressure and oxygen levels in your lungs and heart. It also checks to see how well your heart is pumping.
Your doctor will put a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a blood vessel in your neck, groin, or arm. During the test, the doctor will move the catheter through the blood vessel into your heart. When the catheter is in your heart, the doctor will inflate a small balloon on the tip of the catheter. This helps guide the catheter into the artery that carries blood to your lungs (pulmonary artery).
The test usually takes about 1 to 1½ hours. You may have swelling, bruising, or a small lump around the site where the catheter went into your body. You can do light activities around the house. But do not do anything strenuous until your doctor says it is okay. This lets the catheter site heal.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: December 16, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Michael P. Pignone MD, MPH, FACP - Internal Medicine & Stephen Fort MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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