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Cardiac Biopsy

What's it for

A cardiac biopsy is a procedure that removes a very small sample of your heart muscle so that it can be evaluated in a lab.

This procedure may be done to determine the cause of cardiac myopathy (a weakened heart muscle) or to check for rejection after a heart transplant.

How it's done

A cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure. This means that everything is done through a very small incision.

You are given a medication through an IV to help you relax. Your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level are monitored throughout this procedure.

After you are given an anesthetic to numb the area, a small incision is made in your neck. A thin tube called a sheath is inserted. A longer and thinner tube called a catheter is then slid into the sheath. This catheter has a miniature grasping device on the end.

The catheter is guided through your blood vessels and up to your heart. The grasping device then takes a very small sample of your heart muscle. You will not feel any pain as the sample is taken.

The catheter with the sample is then removed, and the sample is sent to the lab for evaluation. The results of the lab tests will be sent to your doctor.

Technology and expertise at URMC

The Cardiac Catheterization Lab at URMC is the most advanced lab of its kind in the region. We perform many procedures that are not available at other hospitals, and we were the first in the region to perform procedures such as angioplasty and placing coronary stents.

Our doctors are all fellowship trained, the highest level of training available. We perform more cardiac biopsies than any other center in our region. Performing heart biopsies is an integral part of caring for patients with heart transplants. We are the only hospital in the region that offers heart transplantation for patients with advanced heart failure.

Who to contact

If you need more information on cardiac biopsies at URMC, please call us at (585) 275-2475.