Mitral Valve Balloon Commissurotomy

What Is Mitral Valve Balloon Commissurotomy?

Some patients with significant mitral valve stenosis be ineligible for surgical repair or better treated with a mitral valve balloon commissurotomy. This is most often done in younger individuals with rheumatic mitral stenosis to delay the need for open heart surgery at a young age.  It may also be used in a selected patient for palliation or to help improve a patient in preparation for surgery.

What Can a Mitral Valve Balloon Commissurotomy Accomplish?

After a mitral valve balloon commissurotomy 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 vein. Through this sheath, a balloon tipped catheter is advanced from the leg vein into the left atrium and then advanced across the mitral valve. Once across the aortic valve, the balloon is inflated to “spilt open” the thickened valve to allow it to open wider and improve blood flow. The balloon is then deflated and removed.


Your recovery will depend heavily on your condition before the procedure. Recovery often involves an overnight observation on our telemetry floor but further observation may been needed to monitor any heart rhythm issues or other unforeseen issues.  Patients are able to get back to their 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.

Mitral Valve Balloon Commissurotomy 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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