Balloon valvotomy is a procedure performed to widen the narrowed (stenotic) valve. This article throws light on the procedure and the need for the treatment.
How do heart valves work?
Before leaving each chamber of the heart, blood must travel via a valve. Your heart has four valves, each with a specific function. The heart’s valves ensure that blood can only flow in one way within the heart at a time.
The mitral valve connects the two chambers of the heart on the left side of the body. Like a pair of doors, it opens and closes with two separate leaflets.
Why Do You Need A Balloon Valvotomy?
A catheter (thin, flexible tube) is placed into a vein or artery in the groin to perform valvuloplasty, balloon valvuloplasty, or valvotomy, all non-surgical procedures that are involved in heart valve disease treatment. With the help of the catheter, a balloon is inflated within the constricted valve, separating its leaflets. Valvuloplasty is a treatment used by cardiologists for:
Stenosis describes the narrowing of an aperture, such as a heart valve. As a result of mitral stenosis, blood cannot efficiently move from the left atrium to the left ventricle. This could lead to fluid and blood pooling in the lungs.
Most cases of mitral stenosis occur decades after an initial case of rheumatic fever, and many individuals who are later diagnosed with the condition have no recollection of ever having had rheumatic fever.
The major causes of mitral stenosis:
Mitral valve stenosis is most commonly brought on by rheumatic fever. The majority of those who contract this illness did so while still young. When the body’s immune system reacts to streptococcal germs, it causes rheumatic fever. This can develop after a case of strep throat or scarlet fever and is a very hazardous consequence.
Acute rheumatic fever significantly impacts the body’s joints and heart. Extreme inflammation of the joints can cause immobility, both short-term and long-term. Acute rheumatic fever can cause inflammation of the heart, which can cause:
The lining of the heart is affected by this disease (called the endocardium).
It’s an illness that weakens the heart’s muscles (called the myocardium).
Affected by this disease is the heart’s pericardial membrane (called the pericardium).
The signs of mitral stenosis:
Mitral valve stenosis causes congestion (fluid buildup) in the lungs and shortness of breath because the heart’s pressure is unable to escape.
Symptoms tend to worsen gradually over time. Mitral stenosis can cause no symptoms, or just moderate ones, for years or even decades. Although symptoms of mitral valve stenosis most commonly arises between the ages of 15 and 40, this condition can manifest at any age, including in childhood.
- Trouble breathing, particularly during exercise or during resting
- Fatigue, especially during increased activity
- Swollen feet or legs
- Sensations of a rapid, fluttering heartbeat (palpitations)
- Chest discomfort or chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Dizziness or fainting
- Heart murmur
- Fluid buildup in the lungs
- Irregular heart rhythms
The complications that can follow if mitral stenosis is not treated at the right time:
Mitral valve stenosis is a potentially life-threatening condition if left undiagnosed or untreated. Arrhythmia is the most typical type. In many of these patients, atrial fibrillation, in which the top chambers of the heart quiver, will develop.
It’s also possible to develop endocarditis or cardiac failure.
The lungs are also impacted by mitral valve stenosis. Mitral stenosis can cause pulmonary edema, fluid buildup, and pulmonary arterial hypertension.
When is balloon valvotomy recommended?
Balloon valvotomy is a procedure performed to widen a stenotic valve’s opening. The purposes for which it is employed include:
- You should pick people who are experiencing symptoms of mitral valve stenosis.
- Aortic stenosis patients over the age of 65 who are not surgical candidates
- There are cases of pulmonic valve stenosis in certain persons.
- The mitral, tricuspid, aortic, and pulmonary valves are all viable candidates for balloon valvotomy.
The various heart valve disease treatments that can help treat various conditions:
Mitral valve stenosis of mild to moderate severity without symptoms may not require immediate treatment. As a result, your doctor will keep an eye on the valve to see whether your situation deteriorates.
Balloon valvotomy procedure:
Balloon valvotomy is a minimally invasive technique in the cardiac catheterization laboratory by a team of heart valve surgeons, nurses, and technicians.
Before reaching the heart’s chambers, doctors insert thin, long tubes called catheters into the groin’s arteries. Next, the cardiologist makes a small incision in the heart’s upper chamber wall. This incision allows the cardiologist to insert a balloon-tipped catheter into the left atrium.
During catheter placement, the balloon tip is positioned within the constricting valve. By repeatedly inflating and deflating the balloon, the valve’s aperture is enlarged. Once the cardiologist determines that the valve opening is large enough, the balloon is deflated and removed.
For a clearer picture of the mitral valve, the cardiologist may perform echocardiography (heart ultrasound) during the surgery.
Mitral valve replacement surgery:
It may be necessary to replace a damaged mitral valve with a mechanical one or one manufactured from cow, pig, or human heart tissue if healing is not an option (biological tissue valve).
As time passes, a biological tissue valve may need to be replaced. People with mechanical valves must take blood thinners forever to prevent blood clots. Your cardiologist will review each valve option’s pros and cons and help you decide which one is best for you. Reach out to a heart hospital in Coimbatore in case you are looking for valve treatment.
In the balloon valvotomy procedure, is the balloon retained inside?
The stenotic heart valve is located, and the catheter is positioned there. The balloon is inflated once in place to expand the valve and facilitate better blood flow. Next, the balloon is deflated, and the catheter carrying it is taken out of the patient. Overnight hospitalization follows the majority of surgical procedures.
The major advantages of undergoing balloon valvotomy:
Balloon valvuloplasty is a non-surgical option for valve repair. Those suffering from the effects of a stenotic valve will find relief from their symptoms when blood flow through the heart is enhanced. Even after the treatment, your cardiologist recommends certain medications and may guide you on lifestyle changes to ensure your heart is functioning well.
Balloon valvotomy is generally performed in people with heart valve problems as it is a non-surgical procedure and does not involve deep stitches. It is a highly recommended procedure for people who prefer non-surgical treatment. Balloon valvotomy generally lasts 5 to 7 years, and it’s considered safe to repeat the procedure.