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What Is Balloon Valvuloplasty?

Apr 07, 2017

What Is Balloon Valvuloplasty?

Balloon Valvuloplasty or commonly known as valvotomy, is a treatment procedure for aortic valve stenosis. In this health condition, the aortic valve narrows down and cause obstruction in blood flow. As a solution to this problem, balloon valvuloplasty is used where a deflated balloon attached to a catheter is inserted through an artery after successfully administering general anaesthesia to the patient. Once the catheter reaches the narrowed aortic valve, the balloon is inflated aiding in widening and recovering the normal size of the valve. After that, the balloon is deflated and removed along with the catheter.

It should, however, be noted that balloon valvuloplasty is a treatment procedure only for children and young adults who are in their early 20s. This is because in case of young people diagnosed with this condition, it is, usually, a birth defect where the aortic valve consists of two instead of three leaflets, known as bicuspid valve. However, in case of older people, gradual deposits of calcium in the valve cause it to harden and block it. In those cases, evidences of re-occurrence of aortic valve stenosis are witnessed within 6-12 months after the procedure. Therefore, balloon valvuloplasty acts as a temporary relief for older adults who are not immediately ready to undergo aortic valve replacement procedure. Similarly, it is also used for pregnant women who can have a replacement procedure after birth.

The risks associated with balloon valvuloplasty include pain, swelling, irritation, bleeding and bruise at the catheter site. In certain cases, problems related to urination are also seen. Though it usually works well with children and young adults, for older adults, in about 10-20% cases, serious complications like heart attack, stroke and aortic valve regurgitation might arise. Besides, dilation might lead to leaky valves and cause very complicated issues which require a replacement surgery.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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