Shortness of breath can be a symptom of many medical conditions, including those affecting your heart.
At Chinatown Cardiology in New York City, we offer comprehensive care, including advanced procedures like valvuloplasty for heart-related causes of shortness of breath.
Our cardiology team may include valvuloplasty as part of your care plan for chronic heart issues when other therapies aren’t working well.
Causes of heart-related shortness of breath
Shortness of breath describes difficulties catching your breath or feeling like you can’t take in enough oxygen when you inhale.
You might experience shortness of breath for several reasons, including lung conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Shortness of breath can also be a sign of underlying heart conditions like:
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
- Pericarditis (inflamed heart tissue)
Shortness of breath can also develop due to mitral valve stenosis. The mitral valve is one of the four heart valves that keep blood flowing in one direction. Mitral valve stenosis describes a narrowing of the valve, which can block blood flow and cause persistent shortness of breath.
How valvuloplasty can relieve shortness of breath
Valvuloplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to widen the mitral valve in your heart so blood can flow freely. During your procedure, your cardiologist inserts two thin catheters into the femoral veins in your groin. A tiny balloon is attached to each catheter.
Your provider guides the catheters into place near your narrowed mitral valve and gently inflates the balloons. That widens the mitral valve and allows blood to flow more easily. Your shortness of breath and other mitral valve stenosis symptoms should resolve quickly.
Typically, you can expect to stay in the hospital for a night or two for observation. You need to lie flat on your back for several hours following your valvuloplasty to minimize your risk of complications.
Your provider performs an echocardiogram to check for heart abnormalities before discharging you. They also provide resources to help you recover fully and get back to your routine safely.
Recovering from valvuloplasty
Recovery from valvuloplasty can take several days, depending on your overall health. We suggest you avoid strenuous activity in the days after your procedure. You likely can return to work and other activities within a week.
Your cardiologist may recommend lifestyle and diet changes to keep your heart healthy and ensure good blood circulation. They can also suggest exercises to do at home.
The results of your valvuloplasty can last many years, but mitral valve stenosis can occur again. We monitor the effectiveness of your treatment and may recommend another valvuloplasty if you experience shortness of breath and other heart-related issues down the road.
Call the Chinatown Cardiology office near you today to schedule a valvuloplasty consultation, or you can request an appointment online.