A Simple Explanation

A stenotic or a narrowed valve is widened using a balloon catheter to allow for blood flow between the heart’s chambers.

What is Balloon Valvuloplasty?

In this procedure, the doctor inserts a narrow tube called catheter into a blood vessel and pushed through the blood vessel into the stiffened valve. Once the catheter reaches the site, a balloon attached to the end of the catheter is inflated until the valve’s flaps are pushed open. Once the blood starts flowing, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.

What are Valves?

The blood has to flow forward through all the chambers of the heart, for this there are valves between each of the heart’s chambers. The different valves are:

  • Tricuspid Valve is located between right atrium and the left ventricle
  • Pulmonary Valve is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery
  • Mitral Valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle Aortic Valve is located between the left ventricle and the aorta.

When is Valvuloplasty needed?

The Valvuloplasty is usually done for patients with a stiff heart valve, due to which there are chances of the heart valves being damaged or diseased.

The conditions that cause damage to the valves are:

  • Valvular Stenosis or stiffened Valve: in this case, the heart muscle has to work harder to pump the pump the blood through the valve
  • Valvular Regurgitation or a leaky valve: here, blood leaks backwards and so less blood is pumped in the right direction.

The stiffness of the valves are usually caused by:

  • Infections like Rheumatic fever or Staphylococcus infections.
  • Birth Defects like Bicuspid Aortic Valve.
  • Aging

The patients suffering from Heart Valve diseases are:

  • Dizziness
  • Chest Pain
  • Breathing Trouble
  • Palpitations
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles and abdomen
  • Gain weight rapidly due to fluid retention

Valvuloplasty Risks

The possible risks of this procedure are:

  • Bleeding at the catheter site
  • Pain, swelling and tenderness at the insertion site
  • The irritation of the vein by the catheter
  • A bruise at the catheter insertion site that will fade after a few days.
  • Trouble urinating after the procedure

How is Valvuloplasty done?

This is a minimally invasive therapeutic procedure, usually done by keeping the patient under Local Anesthesia. The common types of Balloon Valvuloplasty

procedures are:

Aortic Valvuloplasty

The stenotic Aortic Valve is widened using a balloon attached to the catheter’s tip. Once the catheter is placed into the stiffened aortic valve, the balloon is inflated, increasing the opening size of the valve and improving the blood flow.

Mitral Valvuloplasty

The catheter with the balloon is passed from the right femoral vein, up the inferior vena cava and into the right atrium. The Interatrial septum is punctured and the catheter is passed into the left atrium. The balloon has three sections, which are inflated one by one since complete inflation of the balloon can obstruct the valve and cause congestion.


  • The patient is usually kept under observation for sometime
  • Bed rest is recommended for the patient
  • The insertion site is examined for any bleeding, pain or tenderness

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