More about Balloon Valvuloplasty
Is it safe?
This procedure is quite safe when performed by an experienced individual. As you can understand, these procedures are very delicate and one must be aware of all possible complications. The more severe the case, the higher the risk of significant complications, but complications may occur even in the most straightforward cases. With the exception of high-risk patients, risk of death is very low.
Possible significant complications include the occurrence of life-threatening arrhythmias, which must be dealt with swiftly and on very rare occasions, may result in death during the procedure. The use of beta-blockers (normally given ahead of the procedure) reduces this risk. Although a rare occurrence, presence of catheters and wires within the blood vessels and the heart risks damage to these structures and, at worst, rupture and internal haemorrhage, which could result in death or may require urgent surgical repair with open-chest surgery.
Less serious complications such as haemorrhage at the incision site and arrhythmias may occur in about 5% of the cases.
Is it definitive?
Re-formation of the narrowing may occur in up to 10% of cases and a second procedure may be necessary. This usually occurs several weeks to months after the procedure and is not possible to foresee.
Is it possible to perform in all cases? No. The procedure may not be possible and may be abandoned if severe thickening of the heart muscle does not allow passage of the catheters up to the pulmonic valve or if the risk of life-threatening arrhythmias is perceived to be high. In some cases, detection of an abnormal coronary artery close to the pulmonic valve during the procedure, may be another reason to abandon the intervention due to the risk of rupture resulting in death.
Is it effective?
This procedure is effective in about 80% of the cases. Ideally, pressure in the right ventricle is reduced to half of the initial pressure or less than 80 mmHg. Balloon valvuloplasty is more effective in type A pulmonic stenosis than type B.
“Dogs with severe pulmonic stenosis live longer when balloon valvuloplasty is successfully performed.”