Balloon Valvuloplasty

Balloon Valvuloplasty :

Certain heart defects and medical conditions can cause a narrowing in the heart's valves, impeding proper blood flow and causing a number of dangerous and uncomfortable symptoms. Balloon valvuloplasty (orpercutaneous balloon valvuloplasty) is a minimally invasive procedure used to expand the space within the valves, allowing for improved blood flow and hopefully preventing the need for more invasive open-heart surgery procedures.

The balloon valvuloplasty procedure is an effective treatment for narrowed heart valves (stenosis). There are two types of valve stenosis commonly treated with this procedure.

  • Mitral Valve Stenosis :– The mitral valve is located on the left side of the heart and controls blood flow between the left atrium going into the left ventricle. This condition is usually caused by a congenital heart defect, but it can also result as a complication of rheumatic fever or strep throat. Symptoms include fatigue, trouble breathing, swelling in the lower extremities, irregular heartbeats and palpitations, and respiratory problems (including coughing).

  • Pulmonary Valve Stenosis :– The pulmonary valve controls the exit of blood from the right ventricle and its entry into the pulmonary artery. Though mild cases often present with no symptoms, many patients experience heart murmur (an abnormal sound caused by improper blood flow), chest pain, shortness of breath, and fainting. Like mitral valve stenosis, it is usually a congenital heart defect present from birth. It can also be caused by rheumatic fever or strep throat.

  • The balloon valvuloplasty procedure is usually performed with no general anesthesia – only a mild sedative will be used to keep the patient relaxed and comfortable. A cardiologist will insert a catheter containing a small, deflated balloon into a vein in the groin area, then thread the guide wire up to the heart. Once the balloon is positioned in the affected vein, it will be inflated. This stretches the valve to increase the size of the opening and allow for improved blood flow.

    Most patients spend a very brief time in the hospital under monitoring following the procedure, and they can usually return to their normal routine shortly after they are discharged. Balloon valvuloplasty allows patients to put off riskier and more invasive open-heart surgery procedures used to treat valve problems, like valve replacement.

    Smoking is a major risk for several diseases including heart disease, stroke, and several cancers. Even low-tar cigarettes and light smoking can increase the risk of heart disease substantially. There are now several alternative approaches to helping people stop smoking. These include nicotine-replacement patches and gum as well as oral medication.

    If you are able to stop smoking, your risk of a heart attack or stroke decreases within a few weeks. The risk goes down to that of a nonsmoker within about 2 years. In addition, a lot of patients comment that they feel healthier and have more energy after they've stopped smoking.

    Hypothyroidism can increase blood cholesterol levels and that contributes to heart disease; however, if the hypothyroidism is being treated with a thyroid hormone, then the cholesterol returns to normal.

    Birth control pills can cause a small increase in the risk of thrombosis and heart attack. That occurs mainly in people who have been on the pill for more than 10 years and who smoke cigarettes.

    There is an increase in the risk of heart attack if a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) has had a heart attack or stroke. That is mainly seen when the relative has had a heart attack before the age of 45 if they are male, 55 if they are female. Obviously, you cannot change your family history, but a positive history should suggest the need to improve all the other risk factors like stopping smoking and decreasing cholesterol.

    Heart disease is potentially reversible by attending to risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking. Several studies have shown, for example, that aggressive lowering of blood cholesterol with LDL levels below 100 can open up blocked coronary arteries at least partially. Perhaps I should explain that LDL cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol component.

    I would suggest a diet that is balanced among all the main food groups, with fat content making up no more than 30 percent of calories and most of that fat being unsaturated. I would not advise patients to eat a diet that is restricted in carbohydrates or fruits and vegetables, because this may adversely affect vitamin intake and blood cholesterol.

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