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Myocardial Biopsy

An invasive procedure that involves using a bioptome (a small catheter with a grasping device on the end) to obtain a small piece of heart muscle tissue that is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Your doctor uses myocardial biopsy to:

  • evaluate or confirm the presence of rejection after heart transplant
  • diagnose myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)

To prepare:

  • You can wear whatever you like to the hospital. You will wear a hospital gown during the procedure.
  • Leave all valuables at home.
  • Your doctor or nurse will give you specific instructions about what you can and cannot eat or drink before the procedure.
  • Ask your doctor what medications should be taken on the day of your test.
  • If you are diabetic, ask your physician how to adjust your medications the day of your test.
  • Tell your doctor and/or nurses if you are allergic to anything.
  • You will need a companion to bring you home.

What to expect:

  • You will be given a hospital gown to wear.
  • A nurse will start an intravenous (IV) line in your arm so that medications and fluids can be administered during the procedure.
  • The room is cool and dimly lit. You will lie on a special table. If you look above, you will see a large camera and several TV monitors.
  • You will be awake and conscious during the entire procedure.
  • The doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb an area of your neck. A plastic introducer sheath (a short, hollow tube through which the catheter is placed) is inserted into a blood vessel. A bioptome will be inserted through the sheath and threaded to your right ventricle. A x-ray camera may be used to position the bioptome properly.
  • The bioptome is used to obtain samples of the heart muscle. The sample is about the size of the head (top) of a pin.
  • When the samples have been collected, the catheter will be removed and firm pressure will be held over the area to stop bleeding.
  • The procedure takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

Please ask your doctor if you have any questions about myocardial biopsy.

Reviewed: 09/13

This information is about testing and procedures and may include instructions specific to Cleveland Clinic.
Please consult your physician for information pertaining to your testing.

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

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