Balloon Valvuloplasty

A balloon valvuloplasty is a procedure in which a narrowed heart valve is stretched open by a balloon guided into the heart by a catheter (thin, flexible wires). Balloon valvuloplasty is most often used to treat a narrowing of the aorta, the mitral valve or the pulmonary valve (aortic, mitral or pulmonary stenosis).

Balloon Valvuloplasty Procedure 
A balloon valvuloplasty is performed in a special operating room called a cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab). The entire procedure can take up to four hours.

In addition to relaxing sedatives, patients receive a local anesthetic to numb the catheter insertion site (either in the arm or in the groin). The doctor uses a needle to make a small incision in your arm or groin and inserts a tapered tube called a sheath into the hole.

A catheter with a balloon in its tip is inserted through the sheath into your blood vessel and navigated to the blocked artery, guided by an imaging method called fluoroscopy. The balloon is then expanded, pushing the valve open.

When the procedure is complete, your doctor removes the catheter and the sheath and closes the opening in your blood vessel.

Balloon Valvuloplasty Recovery
After your balloon valvuloplasty, you will be moved to a special care unit, where you will be asked to remain still while the catheter insertion site closes. Most patients spend one to three days in the hospital following a balloon valvuloplasty. 

Other Heart Treatments
Houston Methodist physicians suggest several treatments for patients with concerns about heart health. Learn about other methods for dealing with cardiac concerns: 


Houston Methodist provides balloon valvuloplasty at the following convenient locations: