What is mitral balloon valvuloplasty?

A valvuloplasty is a procedure to dilate a restricted heart valve to treat rheumatic mitral stenosis, a severe form of heart disease that arises from an obstruction of the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle. Mitral valve stenosis develops when the entrance of the mitral valve is smaller than normal. As a result, a limited amount of blood travels from the upper to the lower heart chambers on the left-hand side of the heart. The left ventricle plays a vital role in transferring oxygenated blood throughout the body.

What are the signs of mitral valve stenosis?

Signs of mitral valve stenosis include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy to a point that prevents you from engaging in day-to-day activities.
  • Recurrent bronchitis often occurs due to mitral valve stenosis.
  • Palpitations arise from mitral valve stenosis, a condition which occurs from increased pressure on the left upper chamber of the heart that results in an inconsistent heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation).
  • Voice hoarseness
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet or abdomen.

How do you perform mitral balloon valvuloplasty?

Mitral balloon valvuloplasty is performed by inserting a catheter with a balloon at the tip, which is inflated until the balloon reaches the mitral valve. The balloon helps widen the blocked region and improve blood flow.

First, Dr Muller inserts a sheath, a tiny plastic tube, into a blood vessel in the groin region. He places the catheter with a balloon at the end through the sheath using image guidance (echocardiographic images and X-rays). A contrast dye is administered through the catheter, which helps locate the restricted heart valve. Dr Muller can accurately position the balloon in the affected heart valve using the images at his disposal. He then inflates the balloon to dilate the entrance of the valve. Once Dr Muller reopens the valve, he safely removes the catheter and balloon.


What can I expect after balloon valvuloplasty?

Dr Muller will advise you to rest flat on your back for a few hours to prevent the risk of bleeding at the insertion site. It would be best to drink plenty of water to remove the contrast dye from the body.

When should I contact Dr Muller if I notice anything unusual after the procedure?

You must contact Dr Muller if you develop the following symptoms:

  • Pressure in the chest/chest pain
  • Swelling in the abdomen or lower extremity
  • Fever
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Inflammation, redness and pain at the insertion site.

Does a balloon valvuloplasty last long?

Yes, the results of a balloon valvuloplasty can last over decades. However, the procedure isn’t considered a permanent treatment for valve stenosis.

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