Is there a less invasive approach to repair narrowed aortic valves?
Yes. There are some minimally invasive surgical techniques. There is also a percutaneous procedure called balloon valvuloplasty, much like angioplasty, that is used to open up narrowed valves in some patients. Balloon valvuloplasty is less risky than surgery, but the narrowing almost always recurs in 6-24 months. Valvulopasty is not recommended if the aortic valve is also leaking or if tests indicate a blood clot in the heart. Although there are new techniques that promise to make this approach more effective, most research has focused on percutaneous valve replacement.