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June 13, 1959


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pediatrics, Hahnemann Medical College.

JAMA. 1959;170(7):770-772. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010070010003

Experience with more than 2,000 cardiac catheterizations has been analyzed with respect to the merits of various techniques, the risks involved, and the value of the information gained. The technique described yields data on the pressure and oxygen content of the blood and on the intensity of the heart sounds at various points in the pulmonary artery system, the right ventricle, and the contributing systemic veins. The view that cardiac catheterization is dangerous should take into account the fact that these patients are examined in all stages of myocardial decompensation and many are in severe cardiorespiratory distress. In this series one death was attributed to the procedure. Because definitive treatment of congenital heart lesions is surgical, the information obtained by cardiac catheterization is needed in order to reduce the number of patients operated on for inoperable defects or denied operation for defects that could be corrected.