Balloon Valvuloplasty

Minimally Invasive Procedure to Treat Narrowed Arteries

Balloon valvuloplasty, also called balloon valvotomy, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed by the highly skilled interventional cardiologists at Loyola Medicine. 

Used to expand insufficient aortic and mitral valves, balloon valvuloplasty is an effective treatment for aortic, mitral and pulmonary stenosis, all of which contribute to blood flow restriction. In many cases, it is often a preferred alternative to open heart surgery and heart valve replacement. 

The procedure can be performed in both children and adults who have aortic stenosis and have not responded to nonsurgical treatments.

With a nationally ranked cardiology program, Loyola is a leader in minimally invasive procedures for the heart. Our multidisciplinary team of doctors will work together with you to understand your condition and determine if balloon valvuloplasty is the best treatment option for your specific case. In order to make a final determination, doctors may request additional tests including:

What to Expect with Balloon Valvuloplasty

If balloon valvuloplasty is the best treatment option for you, your surgeon will stretch the narrowed or stenotic heart valve open to allow blood to flow more easily through the heart.

During the procedure, your surgeon will use imaging technology to help guide a deflated balloon into the narrowed opening of the valve. The balloon is attached to a catheter (narrow tube), which is threaded through a blood vessel (usually the femoral artery) to the stenotic heart valve.

Once the balloon is positioned in the valve opening, the surgeon will inflate and deflate the balloon repeatedly. This widens the opening of the valve by splitting the valve leaflets apart, which helps increase blood flow. Once the valve has been sufficiently widened, the surgeons will remove the catheter and the balloon. In certain cases, the procedure will have to be repeated to achieve sufficient widening.

What are Balloon Valvuloplasty Risks?

The balloon valvuloplasty procedure has relatively low risks in children, teens and young adults. As you age, your risk for serious complications increases and may include:

Minor complications related to catheter placement may include:

  • Bleeding or bruising at the catheter site
  • Irritation of the vein by the catheter (superficial thrombophlebitis)
  • Pain, swelling and tenderness at the catheter insertion site
  • Urinary problems after the procedure