Valve Disease Treatment (Heart Valve Surgery)

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Are There Non-Surgical Options for Valve Disease?

Yes. Balloon valvotomy is used to increase the opening of a narrowed (stenotic) heart valve. It is used for select patients who have mitral valve stenosis (narrowing of the mitral valve) with symptoms, select older people who have aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve) but are not able to undergo surgery, and some patients with pulmonic stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonic valve).

What Happens During Balloon Valvotomy?

During a balloon valvotomy, a specially designed catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and guided to the heart. The tip is directed inside the narrowed heart valve. Once there, a tiny balloon is inflated and deflated several times to widen the valve opening. Once the cardiologist is satisfied the valve has been widened enough, the balloon is removed.

During the procedure, the cardiologist may perform an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to get a better picture of the valve.

New research-based, non-surgical procedures to treat regurgitation (leaky valves) are being tested and may provide additional treatment options using a catheter for valve disease in the future.


Cleveland Clinic Heart Center.

The National Institutes of Health.

The American Heart Association.

Reviewed by Robert J Bryg, MD on September 15, 2009

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