The medical procedures related to the heart always have many jargons associated with them – angina, angioplasty, angiography, valvuloplasty, bypass graft etc. One may tend to get lost in this world of jargons. In this article, we try to demystify one of these treatments – Valvuloplasty.
The human heart is a miracle organ, responsible for functioning of all organs by supplying pure blood to them by means of the circulatory system. The blood while flowing through the coronary arteries, passes via the four chambers of the heart. As the blood passes from one chamber to the other, the correct flow and pressure is maintained by the four valves, viz.
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If each of these valves function properly, the adequate blood flow maintains a healthy supply to the body. As one ages, the valves may stiffen up (stenosis) making the blood flow restricted. On the contrary, there is also a possibility of the valves weakening, leading to blood regurgitation or leakage. In either case, there is a high chance of a coronary problem. So, to maintain the correct situation of the valves, the doctor may suggest Valvuloplasty.
Balloon mitral Valvuloplasty or mitral valvuloplasty is the procedure done to increase the opening of the stiffened up mitral valve. During the balloon valvuloplasty procedure, a catheter is inserted into the hole between the upper two chambers of the heart. The special catheter carries a balloon, which is placed directly inside the narrowed valve. The balloon is then inflated and deflated multiple times to widen the narrowed valve.
Balloon aortic valvuloplasty is quite similar to the mitral valvuloplasty. The difference being that this procedure is performed to remove the stiffening of the aortic valve, i.e. aortic stenosis. As part of the procedure, a specialized catheter is inserted through the aortic valve of the heart. The balloon is then inflated and deflated multiple times, thereby reducing the blockage of the valve.
It is imperative that after the valvuloplasty procedure, the instructions by the doctor are strictly adhered to for an effective recovery.