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The Swan-Ganz Catheter as a Teaching Tool for the Anesthesiologist Learning Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Pantin, Enrique J. MD; Kraidin, Jonathan L. MD; Ginsberg, Steven H. MD; Denny, John T. MD; Anderson, Mark B. MD; Solina, Alann R. MD

Innovations: Technology & Techniques in Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery: May/June 2012 - Volume 7 - Issue 3 - p 204–207
doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e31826521fe
Original Articles

Objective: To perform minimally invasive cardiac surgery through the smallest possible wound and with the least number of incisions in the heart or aorta, the necessary cannulations to undergo cardiopulmonary bypass must be done through peripheral vessels. A difficult skill to learn for the cardiac anesthesiologist is how to safely and efficiently position the coronary sinus catheter (Endoplege; Edwards Lifesciences LLC, Irvine, CA USA) required for retrograde cardioplegia administration.

Methods: In patients in whom a Swan-Ganz catheter was inserted as part of the operative management strategy for non–minimally invasive heart surgery, we have been using it as a training tool to learn how to visualize and manipulate right-sided catheters under transesophageal echocardiography. We developed this teaching technique to help hone some of the necessary skills needed to place the Endoplege catheter for minimally invasive cardiac surgery. Manipulation was done with the goal of visualizing the catheter and guiding it into the coronary sinus. For a 4-month period, anesthesia records were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: Fifteen patients, for a total of 19 catheter manipulations, were found in whom we had documented the use of the Swan-Ganz catheter and details about the insertion as a training tool. The coronary sinus and the catheter were visualized 100% of the time. The Swan-Ganz catheter was successfully inserted into the coronary sinus in 17 of 19 catheter manipulations.

Conclusions: The Swan-Ganz catheter can be used as a training tool to develop some of the necessary skills to place catheters into the coronary sinus with transesophageal echocardiography guidance.

From the Division of Cardiac Anesthesia, Department of Anesthesia and Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ USA.

Accepted for publication May 26, 2012.

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Disclosures: Enrique J. Pantin, MD, is a consultant for Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA USA. Mark B. Anderson, MD, receives compensation for serving on the speaker’s bureau for Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA USA. Jonathan L. Kraidin, MD, Steven H. Ginsberg, MD, John T. Denny, MD, and Alann R. Solina, MD, declare no conflict of interest.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Enrique J. Pantin, MD, CAB, Suite 3100, 125 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 USA. E-mail:

Copyright © 2012 by the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.