What is the role of right-sided heart catheterization (RHC) in the workup of dilated cardiomyopathy?

Updated: Mar 02, 2021
  • Author: Vinh Q Nguyen, MD, FACC; Chief Editor: Gyanendra K Sharma, MD, FACC, FASE  more...
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Right-sided heart catheterization (RHC) can be beneficial in initially determining the volume status of a patient with equivocal clinical signs and symptoms of heart failure. RHC in a patient with dilated cardiomyopathy demonstrates elevated filling pressures (central venous pressure, pulmonary artery wedge pressure, right ventricular end-diastolic pressure) and decreased cardiac output. RHC is also important for assessing pulmonary vascular resistance, mixed venous saturation, and the adequacy of cardiac output in patients who are hemodynamically compromised. 

In restrictive cardiomyopathy, RHC demonstrates a pattern in the ventricular hemodynamic tracing referred to as the "square root sign" or "dip-and-plateau pattern." This pattern is similar to that observed in patients with constrictive pericarditis, but in restrictive cardiomyopathy, the left ventricular end-diastolic pressure generally exceeds the right ventricular end-diastolic pressure by 6 mm Hg or more and the entire diastolic filling period is abnormal, while constrictive pericarditis is associated with normal or increased early filling.

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