Heart Biopsy- Cardiology

Doctors: Nurse, General Physician

What is heart biopsy?

A heart biopsy is also known as myocardial biopsy or cardiac biopsy. It is an invasive technique to detect heart disease. This test detects presence of any abnormalities in the muscle tissue of the heart.

Who requires heart biopsy?

  • Heart biopsy is used to confirm various heart diseases such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or certain other heart diseases such as cardiomyopathy or cardiac amyloidosis.
  • In patients who have undergone heart transplant, heart biopsy is done to assess or confirm the presence of rejection following the surgery.

The procedure:

  • This procedure is done either in the operating room or cardiac cath lab. The whole process takes around 30 to 60 minutes. Patient is given a local anesthetic agent to numb an area around the neck.
  • A small incision is made on the right side of the neck and a long tube (catheter) called a bioptome is passed through it down into the right ventricle of the heart. X-rays, called fluoroscopy, are used to place the bioptome correctly.
  • The bioptome is used to acquire samples of the heart muscle. In order to do so, the jaws of the instrument are opened and closed, and a small piece of tissue is cut off and removed. Once the samples are collected, the catheter and sheath would be removed.
  • It takes around 24 to 48 hours to get the biopsy results.

What to expect after the procedure?

Once the test is done, patient is required to keep the head upright to avoid augmented pressure in the jugular vein which might lead to bleeding at the site of biopsy. Patient’s neck area is observed carefully for bleeding and gentle pressure is applied.

Negative biopsy results indicate that the heart tissue is normal. A positive biopsy result indicate inflammation due to an infection. If the biopsy was done after a heart transplant, it might suggest the presence of rejection cells.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.