Balloon Mitral Valvuloplasty
This is done in conditions when the mitral valve is narrowed due to disease.
This procedure — which doesn’t involve open-heart surgery — uses a soft, thin tube (catheter) tipped with a balloon to open up the mitral valve passageway. A doctor guides the catheter through a blood vessel in your arm or groin to your heart and into your narrowed mitral valve. However, to reach the mitral valve on the left side of your heart, doctors actually guide the catheter through the right side of your heart first and then create a very small hole in the center wall of the heart (septum) that separates the right and left upper chambers of your heart. In some people, this small hole exists naturally. Through this tiny hole — a shortcut — doctors can more easily reach the mitral valve. Once in position at the mitral valve, a balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated. The balloon pushes open the mitral valve and stretches the valve opening, improving blood flow. The balloon is then deflated and the catheter with balloon is guided back out of your body. Once the catheter is removed, the tiny hole in the heart wall will seal on its own. Balloon valvuloplasty can relieve mitral valve stenosis and its symptoms. But it may not be appropriate if the valve is both tight (stenotic) and leaky (regurgitant). It’s also not performed if there’s a blood clot in a chamber of your heart, because of the risk of dislodging it. Balloon valvuloplasty may improve the blood flow through the valve for a while. However, over time the narrowing may recur.