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The pulmonary valve is one of the heart’s four valves. It normally opens fully when the right ventricle squeezes to allow the blood to flow from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery and then the lungs.
Sometimes, a person is born with an abnormally thickened or fused valve. This is called congenital pulmonary stenosis. The valve can’t open as fully as it normally would. The heart has to work harder to push the blood out to the lungs. Over time, this can damage the overworked heart muscle.
Pulmonary valvuloplasty is a procedure that aims to fix this problem without the need for open-heart surgery. The procedure uses a long, thin tube called a catheter. This tube has an inflatable balloon at its tip.
The healthcare provider puts this catheter through a blood vessel in the groin and threads it all the way to the pulmonary valve. The balloon is then inflated and stretches the valve to open it up. Then blood can flow out to the pulmonary artery without blockage.
Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care has a team of highly-skilled surgeons who are using some of the most advanced techniques to perform this procedure. These techniques can improve recovery time, reduce complications and provide a quicker return to work and other daily activities.
You may be eligible for this procedure if you have congenital pulmonary stenosis.
Your doctor may want to do these tests to diagnose your case:
Pulmonary valvuloplasty can treat pulmonary stenosis. Mild cases of pulmonary stenosis may not lead to any symptoms. But if you have a more moderate case, you may be tired and have shortness of breath when exercising.
You may develop symptoms later in childhood or adulthood. People with severe symptoms often need some procedure or surgery. Treatment is often recommended for pregnant women, especially if the stenosis is serious.
Ask your healthcare provider about how to get ready for the procedure. You should not eat or drink anything after the midnight before the procedure. You may also need to stop taking certain medicines beforehand.
The procedure usually happens in a cardiac catheterization lab. It is done by a cardiologist and a team of specialized nurses. During the two hour procedure, the team will carefully watch your vital signs.
After you leave the hospital:
Most of the time, symptoms improve right away after balloon valvuloplasty. But you will need lifelong care from a cardiologist. Some people will need another valvuloplasty or other procedure in the future.