Providence is committed to determining an accurate diagnosis with the use of the most effective tools. Endomyocardial biopsy is a diagnostic technique that allows your doctor to get a clear, real-time picture of the state of your heart muscle, which informs decisions for the best possible treatment.
During an endomyocardial biopsy, a small amount of tissue is removed from the internal lining of the heart for testing. The biopsy helps diagnose and treat heart muscle disorders and is also used to detect rejection of a new heart after a heart transplant.
For this procedure, you are placed under mild sedation and lie on a table. A long, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into a vein in the neck or groin area and threaded up into the heart. The doctor can guide the catheter by watching its movement on a monitor showing an X-ray image of the area.
The tip of the catheter is fitted with tiny jaws that the doctor can open and close. Once the catheter is in place, the doctor will take several small snips of muscle for microscopic examination.
The procedure takes less than one hour.
Endomyocardial biopsy is considered a safe procedure and is very effective method to test for rejection of a heart transplant.
Despite the unlikelihood of a complication occurring, the procedure does carry certain risks. These risks include irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), minor bleeding and bruising. While rare, severe risks include damage to the vein or artery, bleeding at the biopsy site, blood clots, infection and stroke.