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 re-oxygenation.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

The symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis are:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities or exercising
  • Chest pain
  • Blue discoloration of the skin or cyanosis
  • Loss of consciousness or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • 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 checkups.

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:

  • Medications
    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 option.

Reference : Pulmonary Valve Stenosis articles from Medline Plus and American Heart Association.

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