Because they had irreversible damage to the left ventricular myocardium none of 12 patients with critical aortic stenosis diagnosed prenatally survived after postnatal treatment. This experience prompted three attempts at intrauterine balloon dilatation of the aortic valve in two fetuses with this condition. On each attempt the balloon catheter was successfully delivered to the left ventricle. In the first fetus the aortic valve was not crossed and the fetus died the next day. In the second fetus the balloon was correctly positioned across the aortic valve and inflated in the valve ring. After delivery, a further balloon angioplasty was performed; this relieved the stenosis but the patient died five weeks later from persisting left ventricular dysfunction related to endocardial fibroelastosis. Balloon angioplasty is feasible in fetal life but the prognosis depends on the ability of the relief of stenosis to limit, prevent, or allow regression of left ventricular damage before delivery.
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