Swan-Ganz Catheter

History of the Swan-Ganz Catheter

Indications for Swan-Ganz Catheterization

General Comments

Reasons that Use of the Swan-Ganz Catheter Has Diminished

  • Risk of Swan-Ganz Catheterization
  • Variable Technical Proficiency (from Center to Center) in Swan-Ganz Catheter Management and Data Interpretation
  • Static Variables Obtained from the Swan-Ganz Catheter Poorly Predict Intravenous Fluid Responsiveness
    • Study of Hemodynamic Variables in Predicting Fluid Responsiveness (Chest, 2002) [MEDLINE]: static hemodynamic parameters were poorly predictive of fluid responsiveness
  • Studies Have Not Consistently Demonstrated Clinical Benefit from Use of the Swan-Ganz Catheter
    • French Study of Swan-Ganz Catheter in Shock and ARDS (JAMA, 2003) [MEDLINE]
      • Early Swan-Ganz Catheter Use Did Not Impact the Mortality in Shock and/or ARDS
    • Meta-Analysis of Swan-Ganz Catheter Trials in the ICU (JAMA, 2005) [MEDLINE]
      • Swan-Ganz Catheter Did Not Impact the Mortality or Number of Hospital Days
    • PAC-Man Study of Swan-Ganz Catheter Use in the ICU (Lancet, 2005) [MEDLINE]
      • Swan-Ganz Catheter Did Not Impact the Mortality Rate
    • Study of Swan-Ganz Catheter vs CVC in Acute Lung Injury/ARDS (NEJM, 2006) [MEDLINE]
      • Swan-Ganz Catheter Did Not Improve Mortality Rate vs Using a CVC, But Was Associated with an Increased Risk of Complications

Cardiac Surgery

Clinical Efficacy

  • Study of Use of Swan-Ganz Catheter in Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery (PLoS One, 2015) [MEDLINE]
    • Swan-Ganz Catheter Use in Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Had No Clinical Benefit or Harm, But was Associated with Increased Cost

Determination of Intracardiac Shunt (see Intracardiac and Extracardiac Shunt)

  • Rationale: utilizing oxygen saturations to detect a “step-up” (due to a left -> right intracardiac shunt)

Diagnosis and Monitoring of Pulmonary Hypertension (see Pulmonary Hypertension)

  • xxx

Differentiation of Cardiogenic vs Non-Cardiogenic Pulmonary Edema/Management of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) (see Pulmonary Edema and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome)

Clinical Efficacy

  • Study of Pulmonary Capillary Wedge Pressure in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (Intensive Care Med, 2002) [MEDLINE]
    • Median PCWP was 16.6 mm Hg in ARDS Patients
    • Patients Who Met Standard Criteria for ARDS Were More Likely to Have a High PCWP
    • PCWP >18 mm Hg was a Strong Predictor of Mortality in ARDS Patients (After Correction of Baseline Differences)
  • French Study of Swan-Ganz Catheter in Shock and ARDS (JAMA, 2003) [MEDLINE]
    • Early Use of Swan-Ganz Catheter Did Not Improve Morbidity or Mortality in Patients with Shock and/or ARDS
  • Study of Swan-Ganz Catheter to Guide Treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (N Engl J Med, 2006) [MEDLINE]
    • Swan-Ganz Catheter-Guided Therapy Did Not Improve Mortality Rate or Organ Function, But was Associated with More Complications than CVC-Guided Therapy

Recommendations (2016 Surviving Sepsis Guidelines; Intensive Care Med, 2017) [MEDLINE]

  • Swan-Ganz Catheter is Not Routinely Recommended in the Management of Sepsis-Associated ARDS (Strong Recommendation, High Quality of Evidence)

Differentiation of Hypotensive/Shock States (see Hypotension)

  • Hypovolemic Shock (see Hypovolemic Shock)
  • Hemorrhagic Shock (see Hemorrhagic Shock)
  • Distributive Shock
    • Septic Shock (see Sepsis)
    • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS)
    • Anaphylactic Shock (see Anaphylaxis)
    • Endocrine/Nutritional Deficiency-Associated Hypotension/Shock
    • Hematologic Disease-Associated Hypotension/Shock
    • Neurogenic Shock (see Neurogenic Shock)
    • Drug/Toxin-Associated Hypotension/Shock
    • Other Types of Distributive Shock
  • Cardiogenic Shock/Severe Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) (see Cardiogenic Shock)
    • Arrhythmogenic
    • Cardiomyopathic
    • Mechanical
  • Obstructive Shock
    • Mechanical
    • Pulmonary Vascular

Management of Cardiogenic Shock

Clinical Efficacy

  • Systematic Review of Impact of Use of Swan-Ganz Catheter in the Management of Cardiogenic Shock (J Crit Care, 2022) [MEDLINE]; n = 1,166,762 (from 6 observational studies)
    • The Most Frequent Etiology of Cardiogenic Shock was Post-Myocardial Infarction (75% [95% CI 55-89%] in Swan-Ganz Catheter Group and 81%[95% CI 47-95%] in Non-Swan-Ganz Catheter Group)
    • Overall, Swan-Ganz Catheter was uUed in 33% (95% CI 24-44%) of Cases
    • Pooling Data Adjusted for Confounders, a Significant Association Between the Swan-Ganz Catheter Group and a Reduction in Short-Term Mortality Emerged When Compared to the Nn-Swan-Ganz Catheter Group (36% [95% CI 27-45%] vs 47% [95% CI 35-59%]; Adjusted Odds Ratio 0.71, 95% CI 0.59-0.87, p < 0.01)
    • Mechanical Circulatory Support Use was Significantly Higher in Swan-Ganz Catheter vs Non-Swan-Ganz Catheter Group (59% [95% CI 54-65%]) vs 48% [95% CI 43-53%]); Odds Ratio 1.60 [95% CI 1.27-2.02, p < 0.01])

Multiple Trauma/Burns (see Burns)

Clinical Efficacy

  • xxx

Perioperative Optimization/Operative Management of Hemodynamics for High-Risk Non-Cardiac Surgery (see Hemodynamics)

Surgical Procedures (Especially in Patients with Suboptimal Cardiac Function)

  • Pneumonectomy

Clinical Efficacy

  • Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Swan-Ganz Catheter in the Outcome of Moderate to High-Risk Surgical Patients (Anesth Analg, 2011) [MEDLINE]
    • Preemptive Strategy of Swan-Ganz Catheter Hemodynamic Monitoring and Coupled Therapy Decreased Surgical Mortality and Morbidity

Research Purposes

  • xxx

Ventricular Pacing

  • When Using a Swan-Ganz Catheter with Pacing Capabilities

General Principles of the Swan-Ganz Catheter

Swan-Ganz Catheter Structure

Circulatory Anatomy in Relation to Placement of the Swan-Ganz Catheter

Pressure Transduction with the Swan-Ganz Catheter


Pressure Waveforms with the Swan-Ganz Catheter


Measurement of Cardiac Output (CO) with the Swan-Ganz Catheter

Thermodilution Method

Fick Method

Adverse Effects/Complications of Swan-Ganz Catheterization



Cardiac Surgery