Balloon valvuloplasty is a surgical procedure used to treat narrow valves by stretching them open without undergoing open heart surgery.
The heart has four valves — aortic, pulmonary, mitral, and tricuspid. A stenotic valve is the term used for narrow valves that restrict blood flow.
Balloon valvuloplasty is best for patients with pulmonary stenosis, but also can be used for mitral stenosis and aortic stenosis.
Your surgeon will give specific instructions before balloon valvuloplasty surgery, including risks such as bleeding, infection, and adverse reaction to anesthesia.
Please be sure to contact your insurance company for coverage.
You will also meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery to go over your medical history. Please do not eat after midnight the night before your surgery.
On the day of surgery, you will arrive at the hospital, register, and change into a gown. A nurse will then review your chart to make sure there are no problems and get the paperwork in order.
The anesthesiologist will then start an IV and you will be taken to the operating room, where the surgeon will verify your name and procedure before any medication is given. Surgery will begin once you are given a local anesthetic.
The surgeon will make a tiny incision in the groin area to access the femoral artery. From there, the surgeon will create a conduit with a catheter to allow a small, deflated balloon on a second catheter to be passed through the first. This tiny balloon is guided up the artery to the heart with direct visualization through a video monitor and repetitive X-rays.
Once the balloon reaches the stenotic valve and is positioned correctly, it is inflated repeatedly to allow the valve leaflets to split apart and widen the valve area. Once done, the balloon catheter will be removed, but the first catheter may stay in for up to a day in case the procedure must be repeated.
After the surgery, you will be taken to the post-operative recovery area and monitored. You will likely experience pain and will be given appropriate pain medication. It’s important to keep the incision areas clean and dry once the catheter is removed.
The length of your hospital stay depends on how quickly you’re able to recover and perform some physical activity. Please let your doctor know immediately if you experience fever, severe pain, redness, swelling, warmth where the incisions were made, or drainage from the incisions. Your surgeon will give specific instructions about recovery time.
To meet with a balloon valvuloplasty specialist at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.