Myocardial Biopsy

Why is the doctor performing this test?

To obtain a small piece of heart tissue for analysis in the laboratory. Myocardial Biopsy is usually performed to evaluate for the presence of rejection after heart transplant, or to diagnose Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), such as Myocarditis which is inflammation of the heart muscle.

What is the test?

Myocardial Biopsy is an invasive diagnostic test using a catheter with a grasping device on the end. The catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in your neck or groin, and threaded to the right ventricle of your heart. There the grasping device (called a bioptome) obtains a small piece of heart muscle, about the size of the head of a pin. The catheter and bioptome with heart muscle attached are carefully removed, and then pressure is applied over the neck or groin area to stop the bleeding. Following the procedure, your doctor will examine the tissue for abnormalities.

Where is the test performed?

In the Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

How long does this test take?

Myocardial Biopsy usually takes 30 - 60 minutes and requires a short hospital stay of 3 - 4 hours.