Complex Balloon Pulmonary Valvotomy Surgery Saves Two Lives

A successful Balloon Pulmonary Valvotomy, a rare and complicated procedure was performed for the first time on two patients in Chennai. One of the patients Vijayalakshmi was suffering from pulmonary stenosis for the last 15 years. Thereafter, she was admitted four times for breathing difficulty and treated for heart failure at various hospitals.

Pulmonary Valve Stenosis is a heart valve disorder in which outflow of blood from the heart’s right ventricle is hindered at the level of the pulmonic valve. This results in the reduction of blood flow to the lungs.

This is the reason Vijayalakshmi had a difficulty in breathing because her pulmonary valve got shrink and resulted in reduction of blood flow to the lungs.

“As blood flow was reduced to the lungs, the supply of oxygen to the body had also reduced. As such, the patient had difficulty in breathing and developed frequent episodes of heart failure (reduction of blood supply to body, resulting in immobility). Though she was treated medically all these years in various hospitals, none of her doctors attempted to remove the block in the pulmonary valve as risks were involved,” said Dr Meenakshi Sundaram.

She was admitted to the hospital on 8th July in a serious condition. Initially, cardiologists provided medical treatment for 1 month. Since it shows zero signs of improvement, they decided to go for Balloon Pulmonary Valvotomy surgery, which is quite a complex procedure to carry out. A vein was opened in the right thigh; a catheter (a flexible tube) was inserted into a pulmonary artery and was expanded to allow easy flow of blood. The procedure was done on 7th August, 2014.

This unusual procedure was also attempted on Deivendran, aged 38, from Pallipattu village in Vellore, who is in good health. The procedure was done free of cost under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.

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