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Balloon valvuloplasty is a procedure to open narrowed aortic, mitral and pulmonary valves.
Also called balloon valvotomy, it can help mitral valve patients avoid open surgery.
It can also provide another option for aortic and pulmonary valve patients too sick or not yet ready for valve replacement.
Learn more about our services by downloading our Heart Valve Patient Guide.
How Balloon Valvuloplasty Works
Before a balloon valvuloplasty, our team gives local anesthesia, as well as intravenous (IV) pain medication and a sedative. The procedure involves several steps:
- Making an incision to access a vein, usually in the leg
- Threading a guide wire into the vein toward the heart
- Placing a thin tube (catheter) with a tiny balloon on the wire and moving it into position over the valve
- Inflating and deflating the balloon, until the valve’s opening is restored as much as possible
- Deflating the balloon for the last time and remove it, along with the catheter and guide wire
- Moving the patient to a hospital bed for an overnight stay (usually)
Even if the procedure is successful, you may need to undergo another surgery in several months or years. Balloon valvuloplasty is typically more effective for children, teens and young adults with a narrowed valve, because the cause is usually a structural defect.
Older patients, on the other hand, tend to have aortic valve stenosis because of a hardened buildup of calcium over the years, making the procedure more challenging.
Our doctors will carefully assess the possibility that you will need to repeat the procedure and help you decide if balloon valvuloplasty is the best course of treatment.