Tests and treatments
Unblocking or widening of a heart valve
What is it?What is it?
A narrowed valve can be widened using the single-balloon (for the aortic valve) or the double-balloon (for the mitral valve) technique. This results in a reduction of the gradient of the treated valve.
What is the process?What is the process?
This procedure is always performed after admission or after consultation. You need to have fasted before and on the day of your admission. This means only clear liquids (e.g. only water, tea, and coffee) for a minimum of two hours beforehand. You may eat a light meal and consume dairy products no later than of six hours beforehand, and a normal meal no later than eight hours before admission. Your physician will tell you which medication you may take prior to the procedure.
You will first be admitted to the day hospital. If no recent laboratory results are available, blood samples will be collected. An transoesophageal ultrasound. Through a tube in the groin (in the vein), a long needle is inserted and passed through the partition from the right to the left atrium. A long catheter is subsequently introduced. A thin wire is threaded up to the narrowed mitral valve and two balloons are used to open the valve.
You will be closely monitored in the Cardiac Care Unit during the first 24 hours after the procedure. After your discharge, further monitoring will take place via consultations where possible follow-up treatment will be discussed.
What are the risks?What are the risks?
Because of the selection process preceding the procedure and careful monitoring of the different stages of the treatment, complications are very rare. Some complications may require urgent surgery. The most important complications are:
- Bleeding from the groin
- Atrial septum defect
- Valve impairment
- Tear of the valve ring
- Heart tamponade
Balloon dilatation of the aortic valve rarely delivers a permanent result and is, for instance, considered as temporary treatment of recurrent decompensation due to critical aortic stenosis, or as bridging therapy before definitive therapy (surgical or percutaneous).
Balloon dilation of a mitral valve usually provides long-lasting results. The success of the treatment is estimated in advance based on elements from the preliminary tests.
Centres and specialist areasCentres and specialist areas
Latest publication date: 26/01/2022
Supervising author: Dr Provenier Frank