The highly trained specialists affiliated with Memorial Hermann Health System treat a full range of heart and vascular conditions. We are dedicated to delivering the best possible outcomes by using a patient-centered, comprehensive approach.

If you are experiencing cardiovascular symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or swelling in your legs and feet, you may be experiencing stenosis and your physician may recommend valvuloplasty.

What Is Valvuloplasty?

Valvuloplasty, also called balloon valvuloplasty, is a minimally invasive procedure to temporarily repair a narrowed heart valve in patients with mitral stenosis, aortic stenosis and pulmonary stenosis. When a heart valve is narrowed, blood flow through the valve is reduced. Valvuloplasty can reduce stenosis symptoms including:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles or legs

How Does It Work?

During valvuloplasty, a balloon-tipped tube is threaded through a blood vessel and into the faulty valve in the heart. The balloon is inflated to widen the opening of the valve, then deflated and removed along with the tube. When the valve is enlarged, blood flow is restored.

Why Is It Done?

The goal of valvuloplasty varies, based on the type of stenosis.

Mitral Stenosis

Valvuloplasty is often successful in postponing mitral-valve repair surgery by up to 10 years. For some patients, valvuloplasty can produce results that are comparable to surgical valve repair or replacement.

Aortic Stenosis

Valvuloplasty is usually not considered a permanent solution for severe aortic stenosis, because many patients suffer from a re-narrowing of the valve about 6 months after the procedure. However, valvuloplasty often produces a significant reduction in the severity of aortic stenosis which allows the heart to recover from heart failure that often accompanies the condition.

Pulmonary Stenosis

Percutaneous pulmonic valvuloplasty is a procedure for patients with congenital (present at birth) narrowed pulmonic valves. These patients usually do not develop symptoms until adulthood.

What To Expect During the Procedure

You will be awake, but sedated, during the minimally invasive procedure. The physician will insert a catheter (long, thin tube) with a deflated balloon on the end into an artery in your groin. Then, X-ray imaging helps guide the catheter to the narrowed heart valve where the balloon will be inflated. The inflation widens the valve and separates the valve flaps, restoring proper blood flow. When this is complete, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.

Risks and Side Effects

While minimally invasive procedures have fewer risks than traditional open-surgeries, there are still some risks involved. These may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to the access blood vessel
  • Damage to the heart valve
  • Stroke
  • Need for pacemaker
  • Death

After the Procedure

Most patients stay in the hospital overnight following a valvuloplasty procedure. Depending on your specific health condition, you may stay longer.

Your physician will talk to you about when it is safe to return to work and normal activities, and about how long you should wait before resuming strenuous activities. It is important to attend all follow-up appointments.

Valvuloplasty will improve blood flow and you should notice an improvement in your symptoms. However, this relief may not be permanent and you may require an additional valvuloplasty procedure, or a surgical valve repair or replacement in the future.

Scheduling an Appointment

If you have valvular heart disease, the affiliated physicians can evaluate your condition and recommend a treatment plan. Our highly skilled practitioners utilize leading edge technology to repair heart valve conditions so you can get back to the life you enjoy.

To learn more about valvuloplasty, visit Find a Doctor to schedule an appointment.

Contact Us

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