Balloon angioplasty

Balloon angioplasty is a procedure used to open up blood vessels that are blocked or too narrow. Balloon angioplasty refers to using a balloon on the end of the catheter to perform the angioplasty.  This can be an effective, less invasive alternative to surgery.


Through a small cut (incision) in the leg, a specially trained pediatric interventional cardiologist guides a long, thin tube called a catheter to the narrowed artery or vein. With radiologic imaging technology, the physician can see pictures to help guide the catheter. The catheter has a tiny balloon on the end. The physician inflates the balloon to gently widen the passage and open the narrowed segment.


The procedure takes place in the pediatric catheterization lab. Your child will be sedated (asleep) with medicine given by our specially trained pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists at Norton Children’s Hospital.


Balloon angioplasty in children

While the use of angioplasty is well known in adults for opening blockages around the heart, its use in children is different. Children’s blood vessels are smaller and more delicate.


In children, balloon angioplasty is used to widen narrowed arteries and veins.


The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute have experience and skill using special techniques and equipment to perform this delicate procedure on children.


Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.


The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s pediatric heart care among the best in the region. With our network of remote diagnostic and treatment services in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, your child can stay close to home for quality care.

Preparing your child for balloon angioplasty

  • Your child cannot eat solid food for eight hours before the procedure.
  • Water and clear liquids are allowed until three hours before the procedure.
  • Your Norton Children’s provider will give you instructions on what medicines your child should take before the procedure and whether it is OK for your child to take his or her regular medications.

Balloon angioplasty after-care

Norton Children’s nurses and physicians will watch your child closely for four to six hours after the procedure. During that time, your child will need to lie still without bending the leg where the catheter was placed.


The interventional pediatric cardiologist will speak with you after the procedure and explain the findings and results.

Why choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

No other congenital heart surgery program in Kentucky, Ohio or Southern Indiana is ranked higher by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons than the Norton Children’s Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • Our board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric cardiovascular surgeons are leaders in the field as clinicians and researchers.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute successfully performs more than 17,500 procedures a year.
  • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute among the best in the region after studying years of our patients’ outcomes and our ability to handle a range of pediatric heart conditions, including the most severe.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has satellite outpatient centers in Bowling Green, Frankfort, Owensboro and Paducah; 28 tele-echocardiography locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana; and six fetal echocardiography locations across Kentucky.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Hospital with subspecialty certification in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is under construction to give our patients the most advanced cardiac intensive care unit available.
  • Our multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together our specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, anesthesiology, cardiac critical care and other areas to create a complete care plan tailored for your child.
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Contact Us

For more information on services or to schedule an appointment with the Norton Children’s Heart Institute:

(502) 629-2929

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