This procedure is performed to treat valvular aortic stenosis, a congenital defect that obstructs the flow of blood as it exits the left ventricle. This non-surgical procedure may be the only treatment needed, but in some cases it is used as temporary relief until a cardiac surgery can be performed.
After a local anesthetic is administered, a small tube called a catheter is inserted into one of the large vessels in the leg. Using a fluoroscope and a monitor, the cardiologist carefully guides a second catheter through the first and up into the heart.
Once the tip of the catheter is in place inside the affected aortic valve, a balloon is slowly and repeatedly inflated. This opens the valve and increases blood flow from the heart. The balloon catheter is then carefully removed.
The patient will remain in the hospital for at least a day. Regular check-ups by a cardiologist will be required to ensure that the valve is functioning properly and the obstruction has been relieved.