Valvuloplasty describes a catheter-based technique which attempts to re-open a narrowed heart valve without major surgery. It is a technique which may not be appropriate in every case. The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic. The approach used varies depending upon the targeted valve, but in each case involves the passage of catheters into the heart from blood vessels in the groin. A precisely-sized balloon is passed through the valve, and inflated to widen the opening, restoring flow through the valve and improving heart function.