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Balloon Valvuloplasty

Clinical Heart and Vascular Center

The experienced heart doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center perform balloon valvuloplasty to treat people with narrowed heart valve conditions such as pulmonary stenosis, mitral stenosis, and aortic stenosis.

This minimally invasive procedure helps restore blood flow through the valves and allows patients to avoid open-heart valve surgery.

Experts in Treating Narrowed Heart Valves

When any of the four heart valves – aortic, pulmonary, mitral, and tricuspid – become narrow (stenotic), blood flow can be restricted.

Balloon valvuloplasty – also called valvulotomy or valvotomy – is a minimally invasive cardiac catheterization procedure used to treat narrowed heart valves by stretching them open.

Most often used to treat patients with pulmonary valve stenosis, the procedure also can be used to treat mitral valve stenosis and aortic valve stenosis.

Our heart doctors are leaders in the field of interventional cardiology. We engage in research and serve on national heart organizations to advocate for the best cardiology care standards in medicine.

Balloon Valvuloplasty: What to Expect

Pre-Procedure Details

The surgeon provides specific instructions to the patient prior to the balloon valvuloplasty and explains risks such as bleeding, infection, or adverse reaction to anesthesia.

Patients also meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery to review their medical history. Patients should not eat after midnight the night before the surgery.

On the day of surgery, the patient arrives at the hospital, registers, and changes into a hospital gown. A nurse reviews the patient’s charts to make sure there are no problems.

The anesthesiologist then starts an IV, and the patient is taken to the operating room, where the surgeon verifies the patient’s name and procedure before any medication is given. Surgery will begin once the patient is under anesthesia.

Procedure Details

The surgeon makes a tiny incision in the groin to access the femoral artery. From there, the surgeon creates a channel with a catheter to allow a tiny deflated balloon on a second catheter to be passed through the first catheter. The balloon is guided up the femoral artery to the heart and can be seen with a video monitor and X-rays.

Once the balloon reaches the narrowed valve and is positioned correctly, the physician inflates it repeatedly, separating the valve leaflets and widening the valve.

When the valve is sufficiently widened, the balloon catheter is removed. The first catheter might stay in place for up to a day in case the procedure must be repeated.

Post-Procedure Details

After the procedure, patients are taken to the postoperative recovery area and monitored. Pain is likely, and pain medication is given as needed.

The length of the hospital stay depends on how quickly the patient is able to recover and perform some physical activity.

Support Services

UT Southwestern’s cardiac rehabilitation specialists create customized plans that integrate proper nutrition, exercise, and, if necessary, nicotine cessation into patients’ lifestyles to improve their cardiovascular health.

Clinical Trials

As one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a number of clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients with cardiovascular disease.

Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials might receive treatments years before they are available to the public.

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Search for opportunities to participate in a heart or vascular research study.

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