The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark publication on the bedside clinical use of a flow-directed catheter. The catheter, now known as the Swan-Ganz catheter, truly revolutionized practice and care of the critically ill. Use of the catheter proliferated nearly without rigorous validation or evidence base until a moratorium was called in regard to its use. This article describes the history of the development of the Swan-Ganz catheter, its uses, and its near downfall. The authors, both involved in educating clinicians in the use of the pulmonary artery catheter, hope that telling this story shares tribal knowledge and lessons learned with newer generations of nurses who did not experience the explosion of development and knowledge in the area of hemodynamic monitoring. Partly because of advances in technology, and the catheter’s application for heart failure in particular, use of the pulmonary catheter is being resurrected.

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