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Woman, 34 breathes easily again after constricted pulmonary valve treatment gives all clear for pregnancy

A balloon valvuloplasty had to be performed to improve functioning

Dubai, United Arab Emirates,  (AETOSWire): Complaining of significant progressive and worsening shortness in breath with exertion, 34-year-old British expat, Carla, approached experts at Emirates Hospital-Jumeirah to understand her new progressive symptoms better, considering she was planning her pregnancy soon.

A physical examination conducted by Dr Allam Alkowatli, MD, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Vascular Interventionalist and the Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Emirates Hospital, revealed a heart murmur indicative of an underlying problem involving one of the heart valves. Following the diagnoses to get a better idea of the condition, an echocardiogram was conducted on the patient, which exposed a tight pulmonary valve.

“This revelation was slightly surprising for us, because typically tight valves in adults this age are relatively rare and definitely uncommon among people hailing from the West when these problems are discovered in childhood,” Dr Alkowatli said.

After the echocardiogram, a unique balloon valvuloplasty was performed to repair the heart valve and improve the blood flow through the valve to the lungs, thus improving the symptoms.

The repair procedure will involve an insertion of a long, thin tube with a balloon at its tip into the Femoral vein of the upper thigh while the patient is under general anesthesia. With the assistance of X-ray imaging, the tube is gently pushed and the large balloon is placed across the narrowed valve in the heart. The balloon is then inflated in the tight valve, expanding it, which results in the valve flaps separation. Once this procedure is successfully completed, the balloon is deflated and removed along with the thin tube.

Following the procedure, the patient’s was transferred to the intensive care unit for observation. On the next day her symptoms of shortness of breath, palpitations and fatigue disappeared and she was discharged to home within 24 hours of her procedure.

“When tested with an echocardiogram, during the patient’s outpatient follow up visit, the findings clearly showed that she was in good health and with significant signs of improvement. As a result of the patient’s continuous progress we advised her to go ahead as planned with her pregnancy because of no risk to the heart or valve failure, or any significant compromise to her or her unborn baby during pregnancy or labor.

The balloon valvuloplasty procedure for tight heart valves is a common practice worldwide and generally produces excellent results. Although the repaired heart valve may last for more than 10 years, the likelihood of a repeat repair procedure is still expected during the patient’s lifetime. A successful balloon valvuloplasty procedure by an experienced Cardiologist will have neither a significant nor detrimental effect, and will not hamper the future long-term functionality of the heart.

Finally, to assure patients, the small insertion hole in the upper thigh typically heals within 48 hours.” Dr Alkowatli added.

Tight valves among the young are mostly detected during childhood and many times discovered by the pediatrician when the child gets symptoms or the physician hears an abnormal heart sound called a “murmur”.  It then could be congenital. Furthermore, there is also a strong possibility of it being inherent in some families as well.

*Source: AETOSWire

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