Unifying Concepts

Current Indications for Use of the Swan-Ganz Catheter

The Swan-Ganz balloon flotation catheter was introduced  in clinical use by H. J. C. Swan and William Ganz in 1970. Since then, the catheter has been used in many kinds of clinical fields, such as critical care medicine, cardiovascular surgery, anesthesia, and cardiology, because of its useful functions.
The Swan-Ganz Catheter (SGC) can easily advance into the pulmonary artery with its flow-directed balloon. The central venous pressure (CVP), the pulmonary artery pressure (PAP), and the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) can be measured, and cardiac output is obtained by thermodilution method.
Current Indications for Use of the Swan-Ganz Catheter
  • Not indicated as routine pulmonary artery catheterization in high-risk cardiac and noncardiac patients
  • Indicated in patients with cardiogenic shock during supportive therapy
  • Indicated in patients with discordant right and left ventricular failure
  • Indicated in patients with severe chronic heart failure requiring inotropic, vasopressor, and vasodilator therapy
  • Indicated in patients with suspected “pseudosepsis” (high cardiac output, low systemic vascular resistance, elevated right atrial and pulmonary capillary wedge pressures)
  • Indicated in some patients with potentially reversible systolic heart failure such as fulminant myocarditis and peripartum cardiomyopathy
  • Indicated for the hemodynamic differential diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension
  • Indicated to assess response to therapy in patients with precapillary and mixed types of pulmonary hypertension
  • Indicated for the transplantation workup
  1. Chatterjee K. The Swan-Ganz catheters: past, present, and future. A viewpoint. Circulation. 2009 Jan 6;119(1):147-52. [Medline]
  2. Greenberg SB, Murphy GS, Vender JS. Current use of the pulmonary artery catheter. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2009 Jun;15(3):249-53. [Medline]
Created: Dec 21, 2010.
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