A myocardial biopsy, also called a heart biopsy, is 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)
- Diagnose cardiac amyloidosis
- 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.
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