What conditions are treated by balloon valvulplasty?
This procedure is used most commonly to treat pulmonic valve stenosis in dogs, but can also be used to treat other forms of intra-cardiac stenosis such as cor triatriatum dexter.
Pulmonic stenosis (narrowing) occurs as a result of pulmonic valve dysplasia (malformation), whereby the valve leaflets are partly fused together and fail to open fully during systole. This results in a pressure load on the right ventricle. Severe (and sometimes moderate) pulmonic stenosis can lead to symptoms such as reduced exercise ability, collapse, congestive heart failure and sudden death. Balloon valvuloplasty can be used to reduce the severity of this condition, resulting in improved quality of life and reduced risk of sudden death and other symptoms.
How is Balloon valvulplasty performed?
Balloon valvulplasty is a minimally invasive technique to improve the function of abnormally-formed valves which are stenotic (open incompletely), but can also be used to reduce stenosis in other intracardiac stenotic structures (e.g. cor triatriatum dexter).
Initially a blood vessel (usually the femoral or jugular vein) gets punctured and catheters are advanced towards the abnormal valve or lesion. Following contrast injection for assessment of the valve/lesion a balloon catheter is placed across the stenotic valve/structure and inflated. Often high inflation pressures are required to properly split fused valve leaflets and other lesions. For this reason we only use high quality pressure balloons for this intervention to maximise the chances for a good outcome.
Which valves can get ballooned?
The most commonly treated condition using balloon valvulplasty is
pulmonic valve stenosis, which is performed by a number of specialist cardiology centres. The cardiology team at SCVS are very experienced and are often asked to tackle more complex conditions. For example, a patient travelled from Ireland to have treatment for Tricuspid stenosis at SCVS.