Recording hemodynamic pressures from the left atrium can be straightforward in the presence of certain abnormalities such as atrial septal defect or patent foramen ovale, but will require trans-septal puncture in many patients. To properly interpret hemodynamic events, it is important to understand the limitations of using the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure as a surrogate for the left atrial pressure. When properly recorded, left atrial pressures can often provide critical diagnostic information that can guide appropriate care for patients and even help to avoid unnecessary procedures or operations.
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