Heart Institute

Heart Tissue Biopsies at Children’s Hospital Colorado


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A doctor examines a small piece of heart muscle as part of a tissue biopsy test.

A heart tissue biopsy is a test in which a small piece of the heart muscle is taken to be looked at under a microscope. One of the most common reasons your child’s doctor might recommend a biopsy is to see if a virus is affecting the heart, causing inflammation of the heart muscle (a condition called myocarditis).

A doctor may also order this test if your child has signs of a heart muscle disorder (known as cardiomyopathy). A heart tissue biopsy is also routinely done after a heart transplant to monitor for possible signs of the body rejecting a new heart.

What to expect from a tissue biopsy

Tissue biopsies are usually done during a cardiac catheterization or similar procedure. The test will be performed by one of our pediatric cardiologists. Watch a video about what to expect during your child’s heart catheterization.

Getting your child's test results

Your child’s cardiologist will review the results of the test with your family and help determine the best care plan for your child. Some results are available within 24 hours of the procedure, but others (based on the type of test done on the biopsy) can take several days or weeks.  

Learn about other common heart tests.