What is the role of balloon dilatation for severe aortic stenosis during pregnancy?
Myerson SG., Mitchell ARJ., Ormerod OJM., Banning AP.
BACKGROUND AND AIM OF THE STUDY: Severe aortic stenosis in pregnancy creates several challenges for the physician. In recent years, balloon valvuloplasty has become more widely used, though the indications for its use in this setting are unclear. A review of the available evidence is presented, and a suggested management strategy illustrated. METHODS AND RESULTS: Available literature on the subject was reviewed via Medline search and reference lists from the identified articles. Particular attention was paid to prediction of risk, management options and outcome. The data suggest the importance of early symptoms in determining management, as there is a high risk of complications if left untreated. This group should be considered for valvuloplasty, whereas asymptomatic patients are at low risk, and can be managed expectantly. This is illustrated with two contrasting cases from the authors' practice: the symptomatic patient underwent aortic balloon valvuloplasty as a palliative procedure, using transesophageal and minimal fluoroscopic guidance, with good medium-term results. Both patients required aortic valve replacement in the medium to long-term. CONCLUSION: The use of aortic balloon valvuloplasty in pregnancy is useful as a palliative procedure, allowing deferral of valve replacement until after birth. Echocardiographic features alone are not enough to decide on management, and symptoms play a vital role in determining risk. The use of transesophageal echocardiography during the procedure significantly reduces fluoroscopy time.