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Right Heart Catheterization

What’s it for?

A right heart catheterization is a procedure to evaluate blood pressure and fluid levels in the heart and lungs. It's done specifically to:

  • Evaluate pulmonary hypertension (elevated blood pressure in the lungs)
  • Help determine the effects of a leaky (regurgitation) or tight (stenosis) heart valve
  • Evaluate whether medications are helping a patient

How it’s done

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

You are given 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 either your thigh or in your neck. A thin tube called a sheath is inserted. Then a longer and thinner tube called a catheter is slid into the sheath.

The catheter is guided through your blood vessel and to chambers of your heart, where blood pressure and oxygen will be assessed. You may feel a palpitation or nothing at all.

Technology and expertise at URMC

The Cardiac Catheterization Lab at URMC is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer many procedures that are not available anywhere else in the region.

URMC was the first in the region to perform coronary stents and angioplasty. We were also the first to perform catheterizations through the arm, using the radial artery approach. By being part of a medical center that is actively involved in the latest research, we are able to consistently provide our patients with the most advanced and safest procedures.

URMC Cardiology has doctors who perform a high volume of many procedures. Research shows that those centers which perform the highest volume of a procedure generally have the best outcomes.

Who to contact

If you would like more information on right heart catheterization at URMC, please call us at (585) 275-6161.