Heart valves are like one-way doors inside the heart which keep blood going in once direction. Narrowing of these valves is called stenosis. Valve stenosis prevents free flow of blood across the valves and can cause various symptoms, most notably, shortness of breath.
Balloon valvuloplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to treat valve stenosis. A catheter (tube) is inserted in the groin. Through this catheter a balloon is inserted and placed across the valve. Balloon inflations are used to stretch the narrowed valve open.
At the end of the procedure the balloon and catheter are removed. The groin is usually closed with a suture device. The patient has to lie in bed for 2-6 hours after the procedure and may be discharged home the next day.
Balloon valvuloplasty is commonly performed in patients with aortic stensosis prior to transcutaneous aortic valve replacement (TAVR). TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure to treat aortic stenosis by putting in a new valve over the old valve.