Balloon aortic valvuloplasty is a treatment option for severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis. During this procedure, a balloon is inflated within the damaged aortic valve with the aim to increase the size of the valve, therefore relieving symptoms temporarily. Balloon aortic valvuloplasty may be done prior to a formal Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) procedure to assess the therapeutic response of a patient before performing the formal TAVI procedure.
The treatment is considered temporary only, as the damaged valve will likely return to its previous state over time. It has emerged that restenosis and recurrence of symptoms are often seen in as little as 6 months post balloon valvuloplasty. The goal for this treatment is to try to reduce the transaortic valvular pressure gradient by as much as 50 mmHg.1 The patient may see a return of symptoms such as heart failure and other signs of aortic stenosis rapidly due to the severity of the diseased valve.
This percutaneous procedure is carried out in a Cardiac Catheter Lab and is often considered a palliative option for those patients deemed not suitable for other cardiac procedures, due to intraoperative surgical risk or other factors. Balloon aortic valvuloplasty may also be used as a bridge to aortic valve repair or replacement while a patient recovers sufficient physical strength to sustain a more formal TAVI or surgical aortic valve replacement.2
Image 1: Example of a Balloon Valvuloplasty procedure