Valvuloplasty, also known as Balloon Valvuloplasty, is a catheter-based procedure that allows balloon opening of a stenotic heart valve. A catheter with a balloon attached is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and advances it through the aorta into the heart. The balloon is then advanced until it is directly in the opening of the narrowed valve (aortic valve). Once positioned properly, the balloon is inflated and deflated several times, until the valve opening is adequately improved. The catheter and balloon are removed, a pressure is applied to stop bleeding, and the patient must rest flat for several hours.
The procedure can treat aortic valve stenosis in infants and children. However, the valve tends to narrow again and failed to improve long-term survival, BAV is considered a palliative measure in patients who are not suitable for open heart surgery due to increased perioperative risk. BAV can be used also as a bridge to surgical or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in hemodynamically unstable patients or in patients who require urgent major non-cardiac surgery.