Right Cardiac Catheterization Before the Advent of Cardiopulmonary Bypass

  • Achille Gaspardone
  • Giulio G. Stefanini


Right cardiac catheterization is an important tool in current cardiology practice for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes and one of the most frequently performed procedures yearly worldwide. Right cardiac catheterization has the accuracy of intracardiac pressure, blood volume, cardiac output measurements, and permits right chamber visualization throughout angiography. The development of this invasive technique has been an ongoing journey starting in the 18th century with the cannulation of an equine artery for the measurement of systemic arterial pressure performed by Stephen Hale (1677–1761), on to the catheterization of both ventricles in a horse by Claude Bernard in 1844, right heart catheterization in dogs and human cadaver by Arrigo Montanari in 1928, and finally, the self-catheterization by Werner Forssmann in 1929 leading to the development of more sophisticated procedures by Cournand and Richards in 1944. After more than 50 years from its inception, right heart catheterization continues to be the gold standard in diagnosing patients with elevated right heart pressure and in the management of complex patients, although the use of the pulmonary artery catheter is a monitoring procedure and not a treatment. When viewed in this context, the pulmonary artery catheter provides the clinician with the advantage of continuous hemodynamic monitoring that could assist the trained health care professional in the application of therapeutic treatments.


Pulmonary Artery Ventricular Septal Defect Pulmonary Artery Catheter Heart Catheterization Cardiac Output Measurement 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cardiology, Department of MedicineOspedale S. EugenioRomeItaly

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