When heart tissue is needed for diagnosis, the cardiologist can thread a long, thin tube called a catheter into a particular heart chamber. A small tool at the end of the catheter is used to pinch off a tiny piece of the inside lining of the heart muscle (the endocardium). The sample can be examined under a microscope or using specific tests for proteins, genes, or other substances. Endomyocardial biopsies may help in diagnosing rejection of a transplanted heart, viral infections of the heart, myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, sarcoidosis, cardiac tumors, and some ventricular arrhythmias.
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