Balloon valvuloplasty is performed by our Boulder and Denver vet cardiologists with minimal risk to the patient and minimal post-operative recovery time. Successful balloon valvuloplasty may result in prolonging life expectancy as well as improving the quality of life for your pet.

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What is Balloon Valvuloplasty?

Balloon valvuloplasty is a procedure that is used to alleviate or reduce the degree of obstruction associated with certain cardiac conditions such as congenital pulmonic stenosis, mitral stenosis, or tricuspid stenosis.

By performing a balloon valvuloplasty, our cardiologists attempt to improve blood flow through maldeveloped heart valves and reduce potential long-term consequences of such defects.

In a balloon valvuloplasty, the heart is accessed through a minimally invasive route, typically the jugular vein due to its large size and direct connection to the heart.

Once an incision has been made, a balloon device is fed into the heart and positioned spanning across the valve or narrow area to be dilated, then inflated. 

By performing this procedure, valves that have developed inappropriately and are fused together and narrow areas may be opened to improve blood flow.

Once the procedure has been performed, the balloon and all instrumentation are removed and the vein used for accessing the heart is closed.

Balloon Valvuloplasty, Boulder Veterinarians

What can I expect on the day of surgery and the weeks after?

On the day the surgery is elected, your pet will be admitted in the morning given a slight sedative prior to anesthesia to help with pain and anxiety. 

After your pet is under anesthesia, an IV will then be placed in your pet so we are able to administer medications and fluids as needed. 

Once home after recovery from surgery, it is important to monitor the incision very closely for any redness, swelling, or discoloration which may indicate infection. Exercise should be restricted for 10 to 14 days to allow the incision to heal completely. Once the incision is healed, your pet may return to normal activity.

It is important to understand that not all animals will have 100% resolution of the degree of obstruction with this procedure and continued medications and monitoring may be required.

What are the potential complications associated with Balloon Valvuloplasty?

As with any procedure requiring general anesthesia, there is a potential for an adverse reaction to the drugs being used. Poor reactions to the anesthesia can range from mild allergic reactions such as hives to more serious complications like sudden heart failure, and in rare circumstances loss of the pet. 

Potential complications specific to balloon valvuloplasty include excessive bleeding while trying to gain access to the pet’s vascular system. Fortunately, given the small incision needed, bleeding is typically minimal in the majority of cases.

Additionally, since foreign devices are being introduced into the heart, there is a potential for the development of arrhythmias, which can be life-threatening while under anesthesia if untreated. Our cardiologists take great care to avoid this potential and the procedure may be aborted if the risk is deemed too great. 

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