A balloon valvuloplasty is a procedure in which a narrowed heart valve is stretched open by a balloon that is guided into the heart via catheter.
Why is balloon valvuloplasty performed?
Balloon valvuloplasty is commonly used to treat a narrowing of the aorta, the mitral valve or the pulmonary valve (aortic, mitral or pulmonary stenosis).
What happens in a balloon valvuloplasty procedure?
Balloon valvuloplasty is performed in a special operating room called a cardiac catheterization laboratory ("cath lab"), and the procedure can take up to 4 hours.
- First you are given some medication to help you relax; then your doctor numbs the site where the catheter will be inserted (either in the arm or in the groin) with a local anesthetic.
- The doctor uses a needle to make a small hole 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 narrowed valve, guided by an imaging method called fluoroscopy.
- The balloon is 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.
What can I expect after a balloon valvuloplasty?
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. Your care team will check your blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs regularly.
Most patients spend 1 to 3 days in the hospital following a balloon valvuloplasty. Before you go home, your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow, including how much activity you can do, when and how to take your medications, and how to care for the catheter insertion site. Be sure to follow his or her instructions closely, and feel free to call the office if you have any questions.
Learn about other catheter-based procedures:
- Transradial Catheterization
- Radiofrequency Ablation
- Percutaneous Septal Defect Closure
- Alcohol Septal Ablation
For more information about Methodist DeBakey Cardiology Associates or to make an appointment, please call us at 713-441-1100 or 888-361-4375, or contact us online.