Pulmonary artery catheter

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Daniel J Bell et al.

Pulmonary artery catheters (or Swan-Ganz catheters) are balloon flotation catheters that can be inserted simply, quickly, with little training and without fluoroscopic guidance, at the bedside, even in the seriously ill patient. Historically they were widely used to measure right heart haemodynamic indices and pulmonary arterial and capillary wedge pressures. More recently their use has fallen out of favour, due to adverse trial data, however they still have important niche uses.

These catheters should ideally be positioned in the proximal right or left main pulmonary artery

History and etymology

The first balloon flotation flow-directed catheter that did not require image-guidance for insertion and therefore could be inserted at the bedside was introduced in 1970 1 by William Ganz (1919 - 2009) 2 and HJC (Harold James Charles)​ "Jeremy" Swan (1922-2005) 3, both cardiologists at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles.

Share article

Article information

rID: 56188
System: Chest, Vascular
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Swan-Ganz catheter
  • Swan-Ganz catheters

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Case 1: Pulmonary artery catheter
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 2: Pulmonary artery catheter
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.