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Beyond the wedge: clinical physiology and the Swan-Ganz catheter.

The American Journal of Medicine

physiopathology, Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency, Pulmonary Wedge Pressure, Pulmonary Embolism, Myocardial Infarction, Monitoring, Physiologic, Mitral Valve Insufficiency, Humans, Hemodynamics, Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular, Cardiac Tamponade, Cardiac Output, instrumentation, Cardiac Catheterization, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Acute Disease

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      The Swan-Ganz catheter was introduced into general clinical medicine in 1970 and quickly gained widespread use in the management of critically ill patients. The device offers highly sophisticated physiologic information; however, in many instances, only the wedge pressure and the cardiac output are utilized when managing acutely ill patients. The purpose of this review is to illustrate and explain the array of physiologic data available from the Swan-Ganz catheter in most circumstances. A basic understanding of the information that can be obtained with the Swan-Ganz catheter is quite useful in the diagnosis and management of a variety of cardiovascular disorders. In addition, the Swan-Ganz catheter can be a helpful tool for teaching cardiovascular pathophysiology.

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