Percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty is a minimally invasive method to repair the valves. It improves blood flow through the heart and provides relief from the symptoms of a stenotic valve, which include:
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulty
- Palpitations (sensation of a racing or pounding heartbeat)
- Pale or bluish skin
- Swelling of the feet, ankles, or abdomen
- Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention
What is percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty?
The heart has four chambers, the upper two are called atria and the lower two chambers are called ventricles. The flow of blood into and from the heart and from the atria to the ventricles is guarded by four valves.
- Tricuspid valve is located between the right atrium and the right ventricle.
- Pulmonary valve is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs).
- Mitral valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle.
- Aortic valve is located between the left ventricle and the aorta (the blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood from the heart).
These valves ensure an adequate flow of blood in a single direction and prevent any backflow. In some diseases, a valve may become abnormally stiff and narrow (stenosed valve). This will hamper an adequate blood flow from the heart to other body parts. The heart must work harder to pump blood and eventually grows weak. This may produce several complications depending on the extent of stenosis.
Percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty is a surgical procedure to repair a stenotic heart valve. In this procedure, one or more large balloons are inserted through the skin (percutaneously) and then inflated across a stenotic valve to decrease the extent of narrowing/obstruction.
What happens during a percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty?
During a percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty:
- The anesthesiologist gives a local anesthetic injection at the site of catheter insertion.
- They administer intravenous sedative medicines to help you relax before the procedure.
- The surgeon identifies the site of catheter insertion just above the blood vessel in the groin.
- They insert a device called introducer into the vessel. This device helps with the introduction of the catheter through the vessel into the heart.
- After catheterization, the surgeon begins injecting contrast dye from the intravenous line to check the exact place of catheter and valve.
- After the catheter reaches the required position, the surgeon inflates the balloon. This forces the stenotic valve leaflets to open.
- The inflated balloon relieves the stenosis by breaking the hard deposits within the valve leaflets.
- The surgeon deflates the balloon and removes the catheter.
What are the risks of a percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty surgery?
The complications of percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty include:
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