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Heart Problem Diagnosis

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What do the Numbers Mean?  |  How Pressures Change in the Heart  |  How Does Blood Flow?  
Heart Problem Diagnosis

During the process of the cardiac catheterization doctors measure the pressures in the heart so they can figure out if they are normal or high. For example, if the pressures are higher than normal in the Right Ventricle, the doctor will know that there must be a hole between the the Right Ventricle and the Left Ventricle chambers (Ventricular Septal Defect or VSD). Because the pressure in the Left Ventricle is the highest, the blood would flow from the higher pressure in the Left Ventricle through the hole and on to the lower pressure chamber in the Right Ventricle.

If there was a hole between the Right Atrium and the Left Atrium in the heart (Atrial Septal Defect or ASD) the blood would flow from the higher pressure in the Left Atrium to the lower pressure in the Right Atrium.

The pressure in any heart chamber may be high because that chamber may be pumping against a narrowed valve, or the chamber may be receiving extra blood from another chamber through a hole in its walls.

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Children's Heart Institute

P. O. Box 10066 McLean, VA 22102

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phone - 703-481-5801

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