Glossary Entry: Pulmonary Artery Catheter


Definition: A pulmonary artery catheter is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into the pulmonary artery to monitor various hemodynamic parameters, such as blood pressure, oxygenation, and cardiac output. It is used to provide crucial information about the heart and lungs in critically ill patients.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: There are different models and sizes of pulmonary artery catheters, each with specific features and applications. These variations may include different lengths, lumens, and sensor configurations based on the intended use and patient population.


Common Uses: Pulmonary artery catheters are commonly used in intensive care units and operating rooms to monitor patients with severe heart or lung conditions, such as heart failure, pulmonary embolism, or acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The insertion of a pulmonary artery catheter involves threading the catheter through a large vein, typically the internal jugular or subclavian vein, and advancing it into the right side of the heart before guiding it into the pulmonary artery. Proper placement is crucial for accurate monitoring of hemodynamic parameters.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with pulmonary artery catheterization include arrhythmias, pulmonary artery rupture, and infection at the insertion site. Careful monitoring and adherence to aseptic techniques are essential to minimize these risks.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: After insertion, the catheter should be continuously monitored for proper positioning and functionality. Regular flushing and clear documentation of measurements and interventions are necessary for optimal performance and safety.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Transducers, pressure monitoring systems, and cardiac output measurement devices are often used in conjunction with pulmonary artery catheters to collect and interpret hemodynamic data.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in catheter design and technology have focused on improving accuracy, minimizing complications, and providing real-time data integration with electronic medical records.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: The use of pulmonary artery catheters is subject to specific regulatory guidelines regarding sterile insertion, calibration, and monitoring to ensure patient safety and accurate hemodynamic assessment.