Transcarotid balloon valvuloplasty with continuous transesophageal echocardiographic guidance for neonatal critical aortic valve stenosis: an alternative to surgical palliation

Pediatr Cardiol. 1998 May-Jun;19(3):212-7. doi: 10.1007/s002469900287.


Neonatal critical aortic valve stenosis is a life-threatening malformation if untreated. Before the late 1980s, the preferred treatment was surgical valvotomy; however, operative mortality was high. Early reports of transcatheter balloon dilation were encouraging, although femoral artery damage and aortic valve insufficiency were procedural limitations. With new balloon catheter technology, transumbilical, transvenous, and transcarotid approaches have been advocated, although a comparison with recent surgical results has not been performed. We compared all neonates who presented to our institution since 1985 with the diagnosis of critical aortic stenosis. Ten patients underwent surgical transventricular valvotomy and 13 patients underwent balloon valvuloplasty via a right carotid cutdown with continuous transesophageal echocardiographic guidance. Prior to intervention, all patients had either left ventricular dysfunction, an aortic valve gradient > 100 mmHg, significant mitral valve insufficiency, and/or ductal dependent systemic blood flow. All patients had successful relief of aortic valve obstruction with normalization of left ventricular function and successful discontinuation of prostaglandin E1. Use of continuous transesophageal echocardiographic guidance resulted in fluoroscopic exposure of only 12 +/- 8 minutes. At the latest follow-up, a similar proportion of patients has required additional aortic valve procedures (38% vs 25%) and overall mortality (20% vs 15%) is similar. In the transcarotid group, 9 of 13 patients (69%) have a normal appearing right carotid artery by Duplex imaging, and no neurologic events have been reported. Balloon aortic valvuloplasty via a right transcarotid approach is safe, simplifies crossing the valve, and is effective for the initial palliation of neonatal critical aortic stenosis. The use of transesophageal echocardiographic guidance reduces fluoroscopy exposure, enables accurate assessment of hemodynamics without catheter manipulation or angiography, and avoids femoral artery injury.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / therapy*
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome