Dr Eugene Robin has been informing doctors and trying to protect the public about the dangers of the Swan Ganz catheter that intensive care specialists frequently insert into your right heart to obtain rather sophisticated information. Dr Robin, a world premier medical scientist, points out that this procedure has never been subjected to standard scientific controlled studies we expect in this country to determine if the benefits are appropriate for the risks of use. An article in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn again indicates that the risks for harm exceed the benefits of an improved outcome.
If you or your friends are admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital and your doctor states he wants a cardiologist or pulmonologist to insert a catheter into your heart and lungs, be sure to ask specifically what benefits he hopes to gain. If the answer seems somewhat nebulous, such as “I’m unable to treat you without this information,” then you have an important decision to make. You may ask him to treat you the best he can without the catheter, you can allow him to insert the catheter, or you can ask him to find you a doctor who can treat you appropriately without this specialized information.
Dr Robin and his colleagues feel that anyone undergoing a right heart catheterization, should be asked to sign a truly inform consent just as with any other procedure outlining the risks vs the benefits of the procedure and that in this case risks exceeds the benefits.
At the present time the patients dying after this catheter has been in place show significant damage to the lining of the heart from the catheter being whipped about with each heart beat. This shows up in the pathology journals, not in the clinical medical journals that the doctors that take care of you read. Hence, Dr Robin’s attempt to distribute this information widely.
He has a weekly column in the Saturday SF Examiner.