Palliation of complex congenital heart disease, requiring reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT), is standard practice. Survival of the homograft is a limiting factor. We examined the role of balloon angioplasty (BAP) in prolonging conduit life. Twelve patients underwent 15 BAP procedures between February 1989 and October 1997. The median age at conduit insertion was 28 months with detection of a significant echo gradient 42 months later. Calcification of homografts, with attendant obstruction and valve dysfunction, was present in all patients. BAP was performed within 1 month of echocardiography and reduced the gradient from a median of 57 to 38 mmHg (p < 0.0005). Echocardiographic follow-up showed persistent gradients (median 68 mmHg) and 11/12 patients went on to conduit replacement after BAP. Only one patient had replacement deferred as a result of BAP. Complications requiring intervention occurred in 20% of the procedures and included bleeding and an unusual balloon fracture. Although BAP can reduce the pressure gradient across the RVOT conduit, the effect is transient and the delay of surgery is not due to improved hemodynamic function. Approximately 10% of cases will benefit from BAP alone, but given the high rate of complications, we do not recommend this procedure as a means of prolonging conduit life.