Balloon Valvuloplasty

If one or more of you heart valves stops working properly and starts to narrow, you may be able to benefit from balloon valvuloplasty surgery.

Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular is a leader in performing these types of heart surgeries and our teams of surgeons, nurses and technicians have helped countless residents of Oregon, Washington and beyond, restore good heart valve health.

What are the heart valves?

Your heart is divided into different chambers and the valves serve the critical function of connecting these chambers and guiding blood flow as your heart contracts and pumps out oxygen-rich blood.

Your heart has four main valves:

  1. Tricuspid valve – works to prevent back flow (or regurgitation) of blood back into your right atrium (one of your heart’s chambers).
  2. Pulmonary valve – allows the blood to flow out of the heart and through the body via the arteries.
  3. Mitral valve – carries blood from your upper left chamber (or atria) to the lower left chamber (or ventricle).
  4. Aortic valve – Allows blood to flow out from the heart through the aorta (the main artery or pathway of your body).

When one or more of these valves becomes damaged or fails to work properly, your doctor may recommend balloon valvuloplasty.

How does balloon valvuloplasty work?

This common procedure usually involves one overnight stay in the hospital (may vary by patient) and follows a simple surgical procedure and process:

  1. The cardiology starts by making a small incision into an artery or vein in the groin.
  2. Then, the team inserts a catheter (a thin, hollow tube) and threads it through the artery to the heart and valve that is experiencing a problem.
  3. At the tip of the catheter is a large, inflatable balloon. Upon arriving at the site of the affected valve, the surgical team then inflates the balloon, expanding the narrowed or compromised valve. This results in increased blood flow.

Why do valves get damaged or diseased in the first place?

  • Infection (e.g., staphylococcus)
  • Wear and tear from normal aging
  • Defects present at birth (congenital abnormalities)

Are you a good candidate for balloon valvuloplasty?

Only you and your doctor can decide if based on your medical condition, balloon valvuloplasty is right for you.

That said, some common symptoms of compromised heart valves or heart valve disease are:

  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations or a fluttering in the chest
  • Swelling/weight gain
  • Weakness, dizziness or general fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

If you would like to know more about balloon valvuloplasty or schedule an appointment in Portland, please call (503) 257-0959.