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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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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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