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Heart Biopsy

(757) 668-7000

An Endomyocardial Biopsy or Heart Biopsy is a test where very small tissue samples of the heart muscle are taken. It is done by putting special catheters into blood vessels in the neck or groin and threading these catheters into the heart. These tissue samples will help the doctor detect signs of infection or transplant rejection.

What to expect after the test:

  • The doctor will decide, after the test, if your child can go home the same day or the next morning.
  • The PACU nurse will check your child's recovery from the test. He or she will check the dressing over the catheter insertion site and the pulses in your child's arm or foot every 15 minutes for the first hour.
  • There will be a small bandage over the insertion site. The doctor will tell you when this may be removed.
  • The insertion site may have some bruising and may be sore for a few days.
  • If your child received a shot for the test, the injection site may be sore and slightly reddened for 2-3 days.

Special notes:

  • Your child needs to lie down as much as possible and avoid bending his/her leg/neck after the test.
  • Do not put the catheter insertion site under water for two (2) days. Your child can shower, sponge bathe or sit in the tub as long as the site is not under water. Avoid swimming.
  • It is very important to check the wound area and to keep it clean.
  • The doctor will tell you when you can begin giving your child's usual medications.
  • You will be notified of the results of the biopsy the evening of the test or by the following day.

When to call your child's doctor:

  • If there is steady bleeding or a growing lump at the insertion site, press on it firmly for 5-10 minutes. If this does not stop the bleeding, call your child's doctor.
  • If your child's leg has a color change, for example: If it becomes blue or dusky as compared to the other leg, call your cardiologist or the Transplant Coordinator.
  • Call if the arm or leg where the cath was placed is much colder then the other.
  • Call if your child's temperature is abnormal rectally or by mouth. Slightly increased temperature after surgery is normal. If your child goes home today, take your child's temperature once before bedtime tonight.
  • Call if the cath site becomes warm, red or has yellow or green drainage, tenderness or swelling.

Please call if you have questions - Cardiac Transplant: Office 668-7723 or Pager 475-2639 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Cardiology Office: 668-7214.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 03/05

(757) 668-7000