Aortic valvuloplasty is a procedure to repair the aortic valve of the heart. It is used as a bridge to aortic valve replacement surgery or to improve quality of life for patients who are not candidates for major heart surgery. Many patients needing isolated valve surgery can be treated robotically or minimally invasively, which speeds recovery and reduces complications, Balloon valvuloplasty is a non-surgical procedure in which a balloon catheter is threaded through the groin into the heart. The balloon is then inflated, stretching the valve back open. This type of surgery involves smaller incisions than standard heart surgery, but larger incisions than robotic surgery. The surgeon works with longer, shafted instruments than usually used in standard heart surgery (which would involve splitting the entire breastbone). Typically, minimally invasive valve surgery is recommended when valves need replacement rather than repair, or when the repair is complex. Any of the four heart valves can be reached using some form of minimally invasive surgery.
The UAB Structural Heart & Valve Program is the oldest and largest program of its kind in Alabama. It provides ongoing care – sometimes for life – to patients who have or are at risk for structural heart and valve disease. Our experienced surgeons and cardiologists take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating this condition, and their expertise ranges from traditional open-heart surgery to robotic-assisted valve repair and the latest in minimally invasive surgical techniques, which require only small incisions (cuts).
The UAB Structural Heart & Valve Clinic has achieved several important milestones in the past decade. In 2012, we performed the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in Alabama, and UAB has performed more TAVR procedures than any other hospital in the state. As an added service, patients who have been told by non-UAB doctors that they need valve surgery can speak to a UAB structural heart and valve surgeon for a second opinion.
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