Key Points about Myocardial Biopsy

  • Myocardial biopsy is used to diagnose potential cardiac issues or heart transplant rejection.
  • The procedure generally lasts for between 30 and 60 minutes.

Overview

Myocardial biopsy is an invasive procedure that involves removing a piece of muscle tissue from the heart, to undergo lab analysis for signs of disease or other cardiac problems.

About myocardial biopsy

Myocardial biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the heart muscle. This sample is then analyzed in a lab, to look for signs of disease or another cardiac problem.

To retrieve the sample, a small catheter is inserted into a blood vessel. The doctor then guides the catheter to the heart, where a small device captures and removes a sample of heart muscle tissue. 

Candidates for myocardial biopsy

You may be a candidate for myocardial biopsy if you have:

  • Heart rejection symptoms following a heart transplant
  • Suspected myocarditis
  • Suspected cardiomyopathy

Expectations for myocardial biopsy

You will be fully awake during a myocardial biopsy but will receive local anesthesia to the site where the catheter will be inserted.

You may experience minor bleeding at the incision site after the sample is obtained.

Benefits of myocardial biopsy

Doctors may perform a myocardial biopsy in order to:

  • Identify and diagnose myocarditis
  • Assess the success of a heart transplant
  • Diagnose additional cardiac issues

Risks of myocardial biopsy

Although complications with myocardial biopsy are extremely rare, risks may include:

  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Arrhythmia
  • Infection
  • Artery injury
  • Nerve damage
  • Collapsed lung
  • Heart rupture

Recovery from myocardial biopsy

Patients recovering from myocardial biopsy should avoid driving for 24 hours after the procedure.