What is the role of right-sided heart catheterization in the diagnosis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)?

Updated: Apr 25, 2018
  • Author: Kristin E Schwab, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Right-sided heart catheterization is the procedure of choice in the diagnosis, quantification, and characterization of pulmonary hypertension. Left-sided heart dysfunction and intracardiac shunts can be excluded, and the cardiac output can be measured.

The indications for right-sided cardiac catheterization are as follows:

  • Making a definitive diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension
  • Measuring pulmonary pressures accurately (ie, when there is difficulty in measuring pulmonary pressures with Doppler echocardiography)
  • Conducting a vasoreactivity test for assessment of the acute response to vasodilators.

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