Tale of the Swan-Ganz (Pulmonary Artery) Catheter
Keywords:Swan-Ganz catheter, pulmonary artery catheter, evidence-based medicine
Since its introduction in 1970, the Swan-Ganz catheter (SGC) has been used extensively, particularly in critical care units. A recent well-designed randomized clinical trial confirmed earlier suspicions that the widespread use of the SGC caused more harm than good. This account of historical SGC use has some valuable lessons for all practitioners, who at times tend to embrace and overuse the ever-increasing diagnostic or therapeutic modalities without fully assessing the risk/benefit ratio.
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