Percutaneous Mitral or Aortic Balloon Valvuloplasty
A balloon valvuloplasty is a heart operation used to open abnormally narrowed (stenotic) valves in the heart, in order to promote normal blood flow. If the mitral valve is stenotic, blood may back up into the lungs, causing congestive heart failure. If the aortic valve is stenotic, the main pumping chamber of the heart generates an abnormally high pressure. The heart may become thickened and stiff, leading to chest pain (angina), congestive heart failure, fainting, or sudden death.
Balloon valvuloplasty is a minimally invasive procedure performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. A balloon is inserted into a vessel in the groin and advanced to the heart. The balloon is transiently inflated across the narrowed valve and then withdrawn. Once opened, the valve function is improved.
Percutaneous mitral balloon valvuloplasty (PMBV) is a well-accepted procedure. The results are comparable to surgical repair of a narrowed mitral valve. Percutaneous aortic balloon valvuloplasty (PABV) carries significantly less risk than surgical aortic valve replacement. However, improvement after the surgical heart procedure is frequently limited. Therefore, the procedure is recommended for patients who are not candidates for valve surgery.