Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
The heart's pulmonary valve is a one-way valve that separates
the right ventricle from the pulmonary artery or blood vessel
to the lung.
Stenosis is a medical term for "narrowing". In a pulmonary
valve stenosis (also called valvular pulmonary stenosis),
the flow of blood out of the heart is obstructed due to narrowing
in the valve opening. This causes back pressure to build up in
the right ventricle and inadequete blood flow to the lungs for
Symptoms of Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
The symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis are:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
- Chest pain
- Blue discoloration of the skin or cyanosis
- Loss of consciousness or fainting
- Failure to thrive or poor weight gain in infants
- Swelling in the ankles or feet
There may be no symptoms until the condition worsens - some people
die suddenly due to heart valve defect without any prior symptoms.
Your doctor would listen for tell-tale signs of heart
murmur (high-pitched whooshing sound) using a stethoscope.
A tremor in the left side of the breast bone called a cardiac
thrill can also sometimes be felt.
Other tests for diagnosing this condition include:
- Chest X-Ray
- Electrocardiogram to show heart enlargement
- Echocardiogram to visualize the valve defect
- Cardiac catheterization
In this procedure, a thin flexible tube is inserted into the
heart to determine the blood pressure and flow in the heart's
chambers and examine the valves.
Causes of Pulmonary Valve Stenosis?
This heart valve condition is usually congenital or present at
birth. It is often due to malformation of the valve during fetal
development. Pulmonary valve stenosis occurs in about 10% of all
patients with congenital heart diseases.
In some people, this condition arise later in life due to complications
from other diseases, such as rheumatic
fever and endocarditis.
Treatment for Pulmonary Valve Stenosis?
For moderate conditions with no symptoms, there is usually no
treatment prescribed beyond careful monitoring and having regular
If you are diagnosed with heart valve defect, you should always
tell your doctor, surgeon, and dentist to obtain preventive antibiotics
prior to any medical procedure. This is because abnormal heart
valves are susceptible to infection from bacteria that may be
introduced to the bloodstream during medical or dental treatments.
Treatments for pulmonary valve stenosis include:
Prescribed medications to control the pain, reduce blood pressure
and the heart's workload (such as digitalis, calcium channel
blockers, ACE inhibitors), regulate its rhythm (such as beta
blockers), and thin the blood (such as anticoagulants) may be
prescribed. Diuretics that rid the body of fluids and reduce
swelling may also be used.
- Balloon Valvuloplasty
In this procedure, a thin and flexible catheter is inserted
into the narrowed valves. Once in place, a balloon at the tip
of the catheter is inflated to open the constriction.
- Pulmonary Valve Surgery
In some cases, surgery to repair the heart's valves such as
to separate fused valve leaflets, sew torn leaflets, and reshape
the valve is needed. For severely damaged valves, replacing
the valve with artificial or pig heart's valve may be the only
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