Balloon Valvuloplasty- Cardiology, Medical Genetics

Doctor: Cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon

What is balloon valvuloplasty?

A ballon valvuloplasty (also known as valvuloplasty or balloon valvotomy) is a procedure to repair a heart valve which has a narrowed opening. During this type of condition, the valve flaps (leaflets) might become stiff or thick, and hence they may fuse together. This leads to narrowing of the valve opening and causes diminished blood flow through the valve. A ballon valvuloplasty might help to enhance the blood flow through the valve.

The procedure:

Patient is connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) for monitoring of the electrical activity of the heart. Patient is given a sedative agent before the balloon valvuloplasty to relax. Patient is generally awake during the procedure. In the beginning of the procedure, a sheath (or introducer) is inserted into the blood vessel. A sheath is a plastic tube through which the catheter is inserted into the blood vessel and eventually advanced into the heart. Once the sheath is inserted properly, doctor will insert the a long, thin tube (known as a catheter) with a balloon on the tip through the sheath into the blood vessel and to the heart.

Once the catheter is inserted properly, a contrast dye is injected through the catheter into the valve to examine at the area. The doctor guides the catheter to the narrowed valve in the heart by using X-ray imaging. Once it is near the valve, the doctor inflates the balloon such that it expands the opening of the narrowed valve and separates the leaflets. After this, the balloon is deflated, and both the catheter and balloon are removed from the artery.

What to expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, the patient is monitored overnight in the hospital. A balloon valvuloplasty might enhance blood flow through patient’s heart and diminish the symptoms. However, there is a possibility that they valve might become narrow again, and the patient might require another valvuloplasty.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.