A pulmonary artery catheter or “SwanGanz” is a long yellow catheter that is inserted the heart through a central vein.

This catheter allows us to measure pressures inside the heart and to tell how much blood the heart is actually pumping (cardiac output). Because it is a long central venous catheter, it can be used to give intravenous fluids and medications that require a large central vein. The catheter can also be used to measure internal body temperature.

When the catheter is in position, the tip will sit in the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery is the larger artery that carries blood from the right side of the heart toward the lung. The pulmonary artery catheter is situated in the blood vessels before the lung.

A balloon is located at the catheter tip. This balloon can be temporarily inflated to allow us to measure the pressure on the other side of the lung, in the left side of the heart. This pressure is called a "WEDGE" pressure measurement or PWP.



Image 1: Heart showing pulmonary artery catheter

Image 2: Pulmonary artery catheter







Last Reviewed: October 23, 2014

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Last Updated October 23, 2014 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada