Complications occur in about 20 per cent of pulmonary artery catheterizations; they are serious in 4 per cent of patients and fatal in 4 per cent or less. Ventricular arrhythmias may occur in 12 to 70 per cent of patients during pulmonary artery catheterization; they may be more frequent and serious in patients with myocardial infarction than in those with septic shock, but mortality related to this complication is low. Complete heart block, induced by a right bundle branch block during pulmonary artery catheterization in patients with pre-existing left bundle branch block, is extremely rare. Thrombocytopenia may impose an unacceptable bleeding risk. Other complications include pneumothorax, arterial puncture, bleeding at the injection site, ventricular perforation and cardiac tamponade, infection, thrombosis, pulmonary vascular laceration with (fatal) hemorrhage, and pulmonary infarction.

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