Unusual pulmonic stenosis surgery saves canine patient

Rumple, the two-year old heart patient, is pictured, fully recovered.

Pulmonic stenosis is a congenital heart defect that involves mild to severe blood flow obstruction from the heart to the lungs. The condition can impact canine breeds with relatively broad, short skulls, such as bulldogs, terriers, Samoyeds, and Labrador retrievers, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Luckily for one patient, there was help.

A team of human pediatric and veterinary cardiologists from The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (UF) successfully performed a surgery normally performed on young human patients with pulmonic stenosis on a two-year-old male Havanese. UF announced the success of the surgery on May 25.

Typically, pulmonic stenosis is treated by passing a catheter from a vein through the right ventricle into the narrowed part of the artery, then using it to guide a balloon that is inflated to relieve the obstruction and allow normal blood flow to the lungs.

However, this was not an option given the patient’s unusually thickened right ventricle with an abnormal tricuspid valve.

Instead, a hybrid technique believed to be the first of its kind in veterinary medicine was employed. This technique involved placing a bare metal stent mounted on a balloon and entering the heart directly within the chest, thus providing a more direct route to place the stent.

Photo credit: University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

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