Improving blood flow through the heart’s aortic valve
Aortic valvuloplasty is a procedure to open the aortic valve inside your heart. The flaps of the aortic valve open and close to allow blood to flow from the heart to the aorta, the body’s largest artery. If the flaps become thick or stiff, less blood will flow to the aorta and the rest of the body, weakening the heart.
The world-renowned experts in our Interventional Cardiology Program use this and other balloon valvuloplasty procedures to care for patients’ hearts. We’re typically one of the first sites in the nation to evaluate new procedures, and we’re one of the region’s highest-volume centers for these minimally invasive techniques.
Your doctor may recommend aortic valvuloplasty as an alternative to repairing or replacing the aortic valve. You may be a good candidate for this procedure if you’re waiting for a valve replacement or if you’re not strong enough for repair or replacement surgery.
What to expect during aortic valvuloplasty
Aortic valvuloplasty is done in the hospital. Your doctor will make a small incision in a blood vessel of your arm or groin and insert a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. This catheter has a balloon at the tip. The doctor will thread the catheter up to your aortic valve and inflate the balloon, which widens the valve’s opening. The doctor will then deflate the balloon and remove it and the catheter.
You’ll likely need to stay in the hospital overnight. This procedure should improve your symptoms, which may return if the aortic valve begins to narrow again. You may need to have another aortic valvuloplasty in the future, or you may need to have your aortic valve repaired or replaced.
Aortic stenosis, also known as aortic valve stenosis, is a narrowing of the aortic valve.
Have questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net.