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Center for Heart & Vascular Health

Balloon Valvuloplasty

What is Stenosis?

Valves control the flow of blood into, through and out of the heart. In valve disease, the valve may narrow (stenosis), which can reduce blood flow. Common causes of valve disease include:

  • Congenital heart conditions, meaning they are present from birth.
  • Rheumatic fever, often associated with untreated strep throat or scarlet fever.
  • The formation of calcium deposits around the valve.
  • Atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing and hardening of the arteries.
  • Endocarditis, which is inflammation of the lining inside the heart.

Symptoms can vary and include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet and ankles, chest pain and heart palpitations.

About Balloon Valvuloplasty

Balloon valvuloplasty is a percutaneous procedure, meaning it is “through the skin,” as opposed to a traditional, open surgical procedure that requires large incisions. To perform the procedure, your interventional cardiologist will thread a catheter (thin, flexible tube) with a deflated balloon attached to the tip through a blood vessel. Using x-ray technology, they will guide the catheter to your damaged valve. Once the catheter is in place, they will inflate the balloon, which stretches the valve opening and allows blood to flow through it. The balloon is then deflated and the catheters are removed.

The patient usually remains awake during the procedure, which generally takes about two hours. You will then go to the recovery area and stay overnight. After your transition home, your care team will follow-up with you to ensure you have a smooth recovery. The balloon valvuloplasty procedure is not a permanent solution and may need to be repeated at a later date.

ChristianaCare Structural Heart Program
Christiana Hospital
4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, DE 19718 directions