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J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino). 1987 Nov-Dec;28(6):646-9.

Swan-Ganz catheter induced pulmonary hemorrhage.

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Department of Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery, Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA.


In over 3500 consecutive open heart procedures using Swan-Ganz catheterization at our institution, we have experienced three major pulmonary artery injuries secondary to this procedure. Pulmonary artery hemorrhage is a rare but frequently fatal complication and a mortality rate as high as fifty percent has been reported. In two of these cases, major retraction of the heart was needed for adequate exposure of the cardiac pathology. The Swan-Ganz catheter inadvertently was advanced into the wedge position for prolonged intervals of time, and periodic overdistention of the balloon occurred. The third case occurred in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. The need for aggressive surgical approach has been demonstrated. The authors have recommended steps to be taken when massive hemoptysis occurs and Swan-Ganz catheter perforation of the pulmonary artery is suspected. Re-evaluation of the "routine" use of the Swan-Ganz catheter may be necessary and overutilization may be a distinct possibility. When the use of this catheter is deemed appropriate, a more exact positioning of the distal portion of the catheter is mandatory if pulmonary artery perforation is to be avoided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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