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Valvuloplasty is a procedure that is performed, in certain circumstances, to open a stenotic (stiff) heart valve. In valvuloplasty, a very small, narrow, hollow tube (known as a catheter) is advanced from a blood vessel in the groin through the aorta into the heart. Once the catheter is placed in the valve to be opened, a large balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated until the leaflets (flaps) of the valve are opened. Once the valve has been opened, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.

Possible risks associated with valvuloplasty can include bleeding at the catheter insertion site; blood clot or damage to the blood vessel at the insertion site; significant blood loss that may require blood transfusion; infection at the catheter insertion site; cardiac dysrhythmias or arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms); stroke; new or worsening valve regurgitation (leakage); or rupture of the valve, requiring open-heart surgery.

Previous Page Last Review Date: August 14, 2019