Pregnancy can cause life threatening complications in women with mitral stenosis, and there is a substantial risk of fetal death if valvotomy under cardiopulmonary bypass is required. A patient is described in whom pulmonary oedema developed after delivery of her first child by caesarean section 13 months previously. Subsequent cardiac catheterisation showed severe mitral stenosis (valve area 0.96 cm2, valve gradient 12 mm Hg, pulmonary artery pressure 30/16 mm Hg). Before valvotomy could be performed the patient again became pregnant and presented in pulmonary oedema at twenty two weeks' gestation. Medical treatment was unsuccessful and she underwent percutaneous transluminal balloon dilatation of the mitral valve. This increased the valve area to 1.78 cm2 and reduced the transmitral gradient to 6 mm Hg. The procedure was uncomplicated, and she remained symptom free on no medication. She delivered vaginally at 37 weeks' gestation. Percutaneous transluminal balloon dilatation of the mitral valve is a safe and effective alternative to mitral valvotomy in pregnancy.
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