Balloon Valvotomy

Posted October 8, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read

Valve stenosis can sometimes be treated with medications if the symptoms are mild. When medications do not work to control symptoms, balloon valvotomy or surgical valve repair or replacement is performed. Balloon valvotomy successfully opens the narrowed valve and improves the overall function of the heart.

Balloon Mitral Valvotomy

Balloon valvotomy is used to increase the opening of a narrowed (stenotic) valve. It is used for:

  • Select patients who have mitral valve stenosis with symptoms

  • Older patients who have aortic valve stenosis, but are not able to undergo surgery

  • Some patients with pulmonic valve stenosis

This balloon valvotomy procedure can be performed on the mitral, tricuspid, aortic or pulmonary valves.

Before the Balloon Mitral Valvotomy procedure

  • Most patients will need to have blood tests, a chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, and an echocardiogram before the procedure.

  • These tests are usually scheduled the day before the procedure.

  • Ask your doctor what medications should be taken on the day of your test.

  • If you have diabetes, ask your physician how to adjust your medications the day of your test.

  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you are taking any blood thinning medications such as Coumadin (warfarin).

  • An alternate method for thinning your blood may be prescribed a few days before the procedure.

  • You will not be able to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure.

  • Leave all valuables at home.

  • If you normally wear dentures, glasses or a hearing assist device, plan to wear them during the procedure to help with communication.

  • Tell your doctor and/or nurses if you have any allergies.

Process of Balloon Valvotomy

  • Balloon valvotomy is a non-surgical procedure performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory by a cardiologist and a specialized team of nurses and technicians.

  • Long, slender tubes called catheters are first placed into blood vessels in the groin and guided into the chambers of the heart.

  • The cardiologist then creates a tiny hole in the wall between the upper two chambers of the heart.

  • This hole provides an opening for the cardiologist to access the left atrium with a special catheter that has a balloon at the tip.

  • The catheter is positioned so the balloon tip is directly inside the narrowed valve.

  • The balloon is inflated and deflated several times to widen the valve opening.

  • Once the cardiologist has determined that the opening of the valve has been widened enough, the balloon is deflated and removed.

  • During the procedure, the cardiologist may perform an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to get a better picture of the mitral valve.

What to expect during Balloon Valvotomy

  • You will need to lay flat for about 6 hours after the catheter has been removed from your groin to prevent bleeding.

  • You will have a tight bulky dressing on your groin area while you are resting in bed.

  • Do not bend your legs during this time to prevent bleeding. A sheet may be placed across your legs to remind you to keep them straight.

  • Your nurse will tell you when you may sit up and get out of bed.

  • You should not eat anything until the catheter has been removed from your groin.

  • Notify your nurse immediately if you have a fever, chest pain, swelling or pain in your groin or leg, or bleeding at your groin site.

  • You will have an echocardiogram the morning after your procedure.

  • Medications may be prescribed.

  • Ask your doctor if it is safe to continue taking the medications you took prior to the procedure.

  • Once you have recovered from the procedure and have talked to your doctor about your follow-up appointments and care, you will be able to go home.

  • You will be able to return to most of your normal activities the day after the procedure.

  • Ask your doctor when it is safe to drive, return to work or begin or continue an exercise program.

  • Once your cardiologist has successfully opened the narrowed mitral valve, your symptoms of valve disease should decrease or disappear completely.

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