Balloon Aortic Valvuloplasty

What Is Balloon Aortic Valvuloplasty (BAV)?

Some patients with severe aortic stenosis may be ineligible for surgical or transcatheter aortic valve replacement due to being too sick. For these patients, balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV) may be used to help alleviate their symptoms and provide temporary improvement. Some patients may improve enough to then go on to have their valve replaced with surgery or through transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

What Can a Balloon Aortic Valvuloplasty Accomplish?

After a balloon aortic valvuloplasty, proper blood flow and circulation is restored to your body, giving you more energy. It can also:

  • Reduce or eliminate heart murmurs or palpitations
  • Reduce or eliminate swelling in feet and legs
  • Reduce or eliminate chest discomfort or pain
  • Enable you to be more physically active without experiencing fatigue or shortness of breath

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

This procedure is performed in the cardiac catheterization lab by an Interventional Cardiologist and is similar to a heart catheterization. A small incision is made in the groin to place a large IV or sheath into the leg artery. Through this sheath a balloon tipped catheter is advanced from the leg artery over a wire and across the aortic valve.  Once across the aortic valve, the balloon is inflated to “stretch open” the thickened valve to allow it to open wider and improve blood flow. The balloon is then deflated and removed. The improvement in blood flow typically will last for a month or longer depending on how well the valve stretches.


Your recovery will depend heavily on your condition before the procedure. Recovery often times involves an overnight observation on our telemetry floor but further observation may been needed to monitor any heart rhythm issues or other unforeseen issues. Patient are able to get back to the prior activity with minimal restrictions after leaving the hospital. 

Estimated Recovery Timeline

Many people feel relief of symptoms almost immediately. You will tire easily in the days following hospital discharge, but your energy will increase as you heal. Make sure to keep your follow-up appointments and follow instructions for heart-healthy eating and exercise.

Balloon Aortic Valvuloplasty Possible Risks

Any medical procedure carries risks, but heart valve repair is typically a safe and effective procedure. You will be given instructions about how to avoid these specific risks, as well as what to do if you experience these issues after your procedure:

  • Blood clot or damage to the blood vessel at catheter insertion sites
  • Significant blood loss that may require blood transfusion 
  • Infection 
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Stroke
  • New or worsening valve regurgitation 
  • Rupture of the valve
  • Pneumonia

Next Steps with MyChart

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