Procedure widens and separates heart valves for better blood flow
Valvuloplasty or PTBV (percutaneous transluminal balloon valvuloplasty) is a procedure to treat narrowed heart valves. If you have a condition such as aortic stenosis (narrowed aortic valves affecting blood flow to the heart) or mitral stenosis (narrowed mitral valves affecting blood flow from heart to other parts of the body), valvuloplasty may be recommended.
For a valvuloplasty procedure you will receive anesthesia (medication) that makes you feel sleepy yet you’ll still be awake and won’t feel any pain. The surgeon will insert a catheter (thin tube) into the groin area and guide the catheter up to your heart. A deflated balloon is then guided through the catheter and up to the narrowed heart valve. Throughout the procedure, the doctor is able to see images of your heart and details of the valve on a computer screen. Once the balloon is positioned accurately, it is gently inflated until the valves separate enough to allow blood to flow freely again. The balloon is then deflated and withdrawn and the incision area is closed up. After surgery, you will likely remain in the hospital overnight.
Preparation and recovery from valvuloplasty
Before your surgery you will be given detailed instructions on how to prepare for your procedure. This will include guidance on whether or not to stop certain medications in advance, and also information on fasting (no food or drink) the day of your surgery. You will need to rest immediately after the surgery and you may experience some discomfort at the incision site or from lying on the surgical table. You may have a small lump or some bruising at the incision site for several weeks after surgery. You may also feel the need to urinate frequently because of the contrast dye used for imaging during the procedure.
After valvuloplasty you’ll need to avoid strenuous activity at first and be sure to keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms, such as fever, chills, excessive pain, or swelling. Your doctor will provide information about any additional risks to be aware of.