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The mitral valve controls the flow of blood into the main pumping chamber (left ventricle) of your heart. Mitral valve disease occurs when the valve does not open properly, is narrowed (stenosis), or does not close properly. This causes pressure on the heart and lungs including symptoms of palpitations, breathlessness and dizziness.

Mitral valve disease can be treated using medication. However if your treatment is unsuccessful your consultant may recommend mitral valve balloon dilation.

What happens during mitral valve balloon dilation?

Balloon dilation (also known as balloon valvulotomy) is usually performed using local anaesthetic. You may also be given a sedative to help you relax. The procedure usually takes about one hour.

A catheter (very thin tube) will be inserted in a vein either in your groin or arm and guided into your heart. The tip of the catheter is inserted into the valve. They will inflate and deflate the balloon several times to widen the valve opening. The balloon is then deflated and removed along with the catheter. 

You will need to lay flat for up to 6 hours following your procedure to prevent any bleeding. Be sure and follow any instructions our healthcare team gives you about bending your legs or sitting up.

Going home after mitral valve balloon dilation

You may need to spend one night in hospital. You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to drive you home on your day of discharge.

Most people return to normal activities within a day or two following this procedure. Be sure and discuss any return to work or exercise with your consultant.

As with any procedure there could be complications including:

Specific complications from mitral valve balloon dilation may include:

  • Damage to the mitral valve
  • Reoccurrence of valve narrowing (restenosis)

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