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Definition of «Catheter, Swan-Ganz»

Catheter, Swan-Ganz: A thin, flexible tube that is inserted through one of the large veins (the inferior or superior vena cava) that return blood to the heart. The catheter is flow-directed. It uses a balloon to carry it through the vena cava to the heart, through the right side of the heart (the right atrium and right ventricle) to the pulmonary artery. Once there, the catheter is purposely positioned in a small branch of the pulmonary artery. Then a pressure called the pulmonary wedge pressure is measured in front of the temporarily inflated and wedged balloon.

The catheter is named for the American cardiologists Harold James C. Swan (1922-) and William Ganz (1919-) who designed it for this purpose.

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