In order to evaluate the relation between balloon design (monofoil, trefoil) and valvular configuration, experimental aortic valvuloplasty was performed in four post-mortem hearts with calcific aortic stenosis of various morphology. The degree of obstruction of the aortic orifice was assessed by computed axial tomography during inflation of monofoil 15 and 19 mm and trefoil 3 x 12 mm balloon catheters. We also evaluated the hemodynamic repercussion of balloon inflation (fall in systolic aortic pressure) in four elderly patients with acquired aortic stenosis who underwent a percutaneous transluminal aortic balloon valvuloplasty, with stepwise increasing balloon sizes of 15 mm, 19 mm and 3 x 12 mm, as during our in vitro experiments, and who underwent aortic valve replacement later on. In these patients, we correlated the anatomy of the excised aortic valves with the retrospective analysis of aortic pressure curves recorded during previous valvuloplasty procedures. Our experimental and clinicopathological observations showed that the degree of obstruction of the aortic orifice in post-mortem specimens and the tolerance to balloon inflation in live patients are dependent of the valvular configuration. Although trefoil balloons have the theoretical advantage to avoid complete obstruction of the aortic orifice during inflation, we observed that in presence of a tricuspid configuration, they could be potentially more occlusive than monofoil balloons since each of the 3 individual components of the trefoil balloon occupied the intercommissural spaces while inflated. However, they offered more residual free space when inflated in aortic valves with a bicuspid configuration (i.e. congenitally bicuspid valves or tricuspid valves with one fused commissure). In our opinion, these observations are relevant, since degenerative disease of the aortic valve (i.e. tricuspid valve without commissural fusion) is now recognized as the most common etiology of aortic stenosis in the elderly.

Aged, Aortic Valve Stenosis/*therapy, Aortic Valve/pathology/physiopathology, Balloon Dilatation/*instrumentation, Calcinosis/*therapy, Equipment Design, Female, Hemodynamic Processes/physiology, Human, In Vitro, Male,
International Journal of Cardiac Imaging
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Plante, S, van den Brand, M.J.B.M, van Veen, L.C.P, di Mario, C, Essed, C.E, Beatt, K.J, & Serruys, P.W.J.C. (1990). Aortic valvuloplasty of calcific aortic stenosis with monofoil and trefoil balloon catheters: practical considerations. International Journal of Cardiac Imaging, 5(4), 249–260. doi:10.1007/BF01797842