Cardiac biopsy involves removing a small sample of heart tissue for examination. The procedure can help evaluate the cause of heart failure, or watch for signs of rejection in heart transplant patients.
Expert Cardiac Biopsy Care
Trust the expert cardiology specialists at UNC Medical Center Heart and Vascular Center who perform hundreds of cardiac biopsies each year. In most cases, your heart failure/transplant cardiologist will perform your cardiac biopsy to ensure you receive the best possible care. Our skilled UNC Medical Center pathologists will examine your biopsy tissue and give a report to your doctor. Your doctor will share the results with you.
What to Expect During Cardiac Biopsy
After administering local anesthesia or, in some cases, conscious sedation, your doctor inserts a catheter–a thin flexible tube–into a small incision in your neck vein or groin. The doctor uses X-ray images [KO1] (fluoroscopy) to guide the catheter into the right ventricle chamber of your heart. A special instrument snips small tissue samples from the heart muscle.
You may be able to return home within one to three hours after the biopsy, especially since you should experience little to no discomfort. Your doctor will explain when you can resume normal activities.
Multidisciplinary Approach to Cardiac Biopsy
For your convenience, UNC Medical Center specialists may perform your cardiac biopsy at the same time as other heart catheterization procedures. Our multidisciplinary approach to cardiac care allows specialists–including heart failure/transplant cardiologists and interventional cardiologists–to collaborate and ensure every patient receives expert care.