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Pulmonary artery catheterization: Indications, contraindications, and complications in adults

Gerald L Weinhouse, MD
Section Editor
Polly E Parsons, MD
Deputy Editor
Geraldine Finlay, MD


Pulmonary artery catheters (PACs; also called Swan-Ganz catheters) are used for the evaluation of a range of conditions. Although their routine use has fallen out of favor, they are still occasionally placed for the management of critically ill patients, and for the evaluation of unexplained dyspnea or suspected pulmonary hypertension.

The indications, contraindications, and complications of PACs are reviewed here. The insertion of PACs and interpretation of PAC measurements are discussed separately. (See "Pulmonary artery catheters: Insertion technique in adults" and "Pulmonary artery catheterization: Interpretation of hemodynamic values and waveforms in adults" and "Cardiac catheterization techniques: Normal hemodynamics".)


Direct measurements of the following can be obtained from an accurately placed pulmonary artery catheter (PAC):

Central venous pressure (CVP)

Right-sided intracardiac pressures (right atrium, right ventricle)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jan 15, 2016.
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