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, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have experience and skill using special techniques and equipment to perform this delicate procedure on children.

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

Norton Children’s has a network of outreach diagnostic and treatment services conveniently located throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

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.

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