Balloon Septostomy

Balloon septostomy, also known as balloon atrial septostomy (BAS), is a catheter-based procedure used to treat congenital heart defects involving abnormal communication between the heart’s atria. This innovative intervention aims to improve oxygenation and relieve symptoms in newborns with critical congenital heart defects, offering hope and a chance at life for these vulnerable patients. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of balloon septostomy, its indications, procedure, and outcomes.

Understanding Critical Congenital Heart Defects:

Critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) are serious structural abnormalities of the heart present at birth, affecting approximately 1 in 100 newborns worldwide. These defects typically involve abnormalities in the heart’s structure or function, leading to impaired blood flow and oxygenation. One common type of CCHD is transposition of the great arteries (TGA), where the aorta and pulmonary artery are switched, leading to parallel circulation and inadequate oxygenation of blood. 

Indications for Balloon Septostomy:

Balloon septostomy is primarily indicated in newborns with critical congenital heart defects, particularly those with TGA or other conditions causing severe cyanosis (blue discoloration due to low oxygen levels). In these cases, the procedure aims to create or enlarge an opening in the atrial septum (wall between the heart’s upper chambers) to allow for improved mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood, thereby increasing systemic oxygenation.

The Balloon Septostomy Procedure:

Balloon septostomy is typically performed in a cardiac catheterization laboratory shortly after birth or shortly after diagnosis in cases of suspected critical congenital heart defects. The procedure is carried out under sedation or general anesthesia to ensure the comfort and safety of the newborn.

During the procedure:

  1. Access: A small incision is made in the baby’s groin area, and a catheter (thin, flexible tube) is inserted into a blood vessel and guided to the heart under fluoroscopic guidance.

  2. Balloon Placement: Once in the heart, the catheter is advanced to the atrial septum, where a balloon-tipped catheter is positioned across the defect.

  3. Balloon Inflation: The balloon is then inflated to create or enlarge an opening in the atrial septum, allowing for improved blood flow between the atria.

  4. Monitoring: Throughout the procedure, the medical team monitors the baby’s vital signs and oxygen saturation levels to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Outcomes and Recovery:

Balloon septostomy can lead to rapid improvement in systemic oxygenation and symptoms in newborns with critical congenital heart defects. Following the procedure, babies are typically closely monitored in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) to assess their response and overall condition.

While balloon septostomy is often performed as a temporary measure to stabilize newborns with critical congenital heart defects, it may be followed by further interventions such as surgical repair or catheter-based interventions to address the underlying cardiac abnormalities.

Discover world-class medical care and cultural wonders.

Contact us today and start your healing journey!