Background: The value of balloon valvuloplasty of the aortic valve in childhood is still under debate.
Objective: To evaluate the results of the procedure in a retrospective multicenter survey of a large cohort over a long time interval.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of 1004 patients with balloon valvuloplasty of the aortic valve performed between 9/1985 and 10/2006 at 20 centers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Amongst others, the following parameters were evaluated before and after the procedure as well as at the end of follow-up or before surgery: clinical status, left ventricular function, transaortic pressure gradient, degree of aortic regurgitation, freedom from re-intervention or surgery.
Patients: Patients from 1 day to 18 years of age with aortic valve stenosis were divided into four groups: 334 newborns (1-28 days); 249 infants (29-365 days); 211 children (1-10 years), and 210 adolescents (10-18 years).
Results: Median follow-up was 32 months (0 days to 17.5 years). After dilatation the pressure gradient decreased from 65 (± 24)mm Hg to 26 (± 16)mm Hg and remained stable during follow-up. The newborns were the most affected patients. Approximately 60% of them had clinical symptoms and impaired left ventricular function before intervention. Complication rate was 15% in newborns, 11% in infants and 6% in older children. Independently of age, 50% of all patients were free from surgery 10 years after intervention.
Conclusions: In this retrospective multicenter study, balloon valvuloplasty of the aortic valve has effectively postponed the need for surgery in infants, children and adolescents up to 18 years of age.
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