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A valvuloplasty, also known as balloon valvuloplasty or balloon valvotomy, is considered an alternative to open heart surgery. It is a procedure to repair a heart valve that has a narrowed opening. In a narrowed heart valve, the valve flaps may become thick or stiff and fuse together, reducing blood flow through the valve.

The valvuloplasty procedure may improve blood flow through the heart valve and improve symptoms.

How does it work?

During a valvuloplasty, a physician inserts a catheter with a balloon on the tip into an artery in the arm or groin. X-rays are used to help guide the catheter to the narrowed valve. The physician then inflates the balloon, which widens the opening of the valve and separates the valve flaps. The balloon is then deflated, and the catheter and balloon are removed.

Am I a good candidate for treatment?

A Deborah Specialty Physician may recommend valvuloplasty for patients that have:

  • Severe valve narrowing with symptoms
  • Narrowing of the mitral valve, even without symptoms
  • Narrowed tricuspid or pulmonary valve
  • Narrowed aortic valve

What can I expect after treatment?

After the procedure, patients usually stay in the hospital overnight.

Valvuloplasty may improve blood flow through the heart and reduce symptoms. However, the valve may narrow again. Patients may need to have another valvuloplasty or other heart procedure, such as valve repair or replacement, in the future.