Balloon valvotomy is a minimally invasive procedure to correct problems of the heart valves like stenosis. It is very effective in treating stenosis of the pulmonary and aortic valves. Stenosed aortic and tricuspid valves respond less better to balloon valvotomy. This is mainly due to the difficulty in accessing these valves through catheterisation.
While an open- heart surgery, like valve replacement is the best curative treatment for valve disorders, they may not be suitable for everyone. In such situations a balloon valvotomy, that creates far less surgical trauma is an ideal solution. There will be less chances of blood loss, wound infections, development of arrhythmias etc. which are usually associated with open- heart surgeries.
Having said that, balloon valvotomy can also create certain complications. These are usually associated with the dye that is injected during the procedure. Certain people may develop allergic reactions to the dye and people with kidney problems may develop complications while excreting the dye through urine.
Some of the major complications and risks associated with a balloon valvotomy are
· Damage to the valve- There is a risk of damage to the structure of the valve during the procedure. In such cases emergency valve replacement surgery may be necessary.
· Development of blood clots- Blood clots may develop in the chambers of the valve during the procedure. The clots may travel to the lungs or the brain to create pulmonary embolism and stroke respectively.
Other complications include
· Bleeding from the incision site
· Hematoma or clotting of blood at the incision site
· Development of abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias
· Heart attack
· Damage to the heart structure
Some of the major complications regarding the outcome of the procedure are given below.
· The failure of the procedure- In very rare cases, the procedure may fail to create any noticeable change in the condition. There will be very little symptomatic relief. In such patients, the procedure may have to be repeated or an open- heart surgery may be attempted.
· Regurgitation of the valves- After the procedure, the flaps of the valves may fail to close properly. This will cause regurgitation or back flow of blood.
· Restenosis of the valves – For certain people, the valves may get narrowed after some point of time. This condition called restenosis will require a repetition of the procedure or open-heart surgery for correction.
Complications of balloon valvotomy are by far lesser than a valve replacement surgery. The success rate of the procedure is also quite high and especially so in the case of children.