• Open Access

The 1st Balloon Valvuloplasty: An Historical Note


School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3850 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail: jwb@vet.upenn.edu.


Balloon valvuloplasty (BV) is currently the treatment of choice for pulmonic stenosis in humans and dogs. Before permission was obtained to attempt the 1st BV in a child in 1982, the safety and efficacy of the procedure were tested in 1980 in an English Bulldog with spontaneous pulmonic stenosis. A fatal outcome would have caused indefinite postponement of BV in human patients, a procedure that currently benefits over 25,000 patients a year worldwide. This article describes the initial test procedure and its fortunate outcome in spite of unrecognized coronary anomalies in the bulldog. A small balloon was used in the test procedure, and fatal disruption of the anomalous left coronary artery (CA) did not occur as it has in several bulldogs since that time.