Valvuloplasty

Valvuloplasty is performed, in certain circumstances, to open a stenotic (stiff) heart valve. In Valvuloplasty, a very small, narrow, hollow tube (known as a catheter) is advanced from a blood vessel in the groin through the aorta into the heart. Once the catheter is placed in the valve to be opened, a large balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated until the leaflets (flaps) of the valve are opened. Once the valve has been opened, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.

You may need this procedure if you have a scarred valve that cannot open all the way. The scarred valve may block the flow of blood to the lungs, to other chambers of the heart, or to the body.

Balloon Valvuloplasty is generally an effective treatment for aortic valve stenosis in children, teens, and young adults but has very limited effectiveness in older adults. In most of older adults, the valve becomes narrowed again (restenosis) within 6 to 12 months after this procedure.

Balloon Valvuloplasty works better in younger people because of the difference in the causes of aortic valve stenosis in younger and older people. After a valvotomy procedure in a young person, the aortic valve is wider, but it is still not normal. After 10 to 20 years, the valve might get narrow again, and he or she might need a valve replacement surgery.