Right heart ventriculography

Alternative names
Angiography - right heart

Definition

Right heart vetriculography is a study of the right chambers (atrium and ventricle) of the heart. This test is used to obtain measurements of pressure, oxygen, and cardiac output through a catheter (thin flexible tube).

Occasionally, visualization of the right chambers is also necessary. This is obtained by injection of contrast media through the catheter into the right side of the heart with a rapid succession of X-rays taken to capture images of blood flow.

How the test is performed

You are given a mild sedative prior to the test. An intravenous (IV) line is started in an arm to allow for the administration of medication during the procedure.

A cardiologist inserts a catheter through a small incision in a vein in the arm, neck, or groin after cleansing the site and numbing the site with a local anesthetic. The catheter is then carefully threaded into the heart, using a type of X-ray images called fluoroscopy to guide the insertion.

When the catheter is in place, dye is injected to allow the cardiologist to view the blood vessels within the heart.

How to prepare for the test

Adults:
Food and fluid are restricted for 6 to 8 hours before the test. The procedure takes place in the hospital. Generally, you will be admitted as either an outpatient or an inpatient the morning of the procedure. In some cases you may need to be admitted the night before.

A health care provider must explain the procedure and its risks. You must sign a consent form.

A mild sedative is usually given 1/2 hour before the procedure. The procedure may last from one to several hours. You will wear hospital clothing.

Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child’s age, interests, previous experience, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child’s age:

How the test will feel

The procedure takes place in a cardiac diagnostic laboratory. You are given sedation to relax prior to the procedure, but you are awake and able to follow instructions during the test. You will remain on a stretcher for the duration of the test.

An incision will be made into a vein in your arm, neck, or groin for threading the catheter into your heart. You are given a local anesthesia for the insertion of the catheter, and the only sensation should be one of pressure at the site.

You may notice a flushing sensation after the contrast media is injected. You may feel some discomfort due to lying still for a prolonged period of time.

Why the test is performed
Right-heart angiography is performed to detect abnormalities in blood flow through the right side of the heart.

Normal Values

See Swan-Ganz catheterization.

What abnormal results mean

Weakened pumping function of the right ventricle might be detected. This could be due to numerous causes. Rarely, right atrial abnormalities such as right atrial myxoma may be present. Abnormal pressures or volumes, abnormalities of the right-sided heart valves, and abnormal connections between the right and left side of the heart may be detected.

What the risks are

Risks of the procedure are cardiac arrhythmias, Cardiac tamponade, trauma to the vein or artery, Low Blood pressure, infection, embolism from Blood clots at the tip of the catheter, reaction to contrast medium, hemorrhage, Stroke, and Heart attack .

Special considerations

This test may be combined with Coronary angiography.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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