Key Points about Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation (Pulmonary Valve Insufficiency)

  • Various conditions can increase your risk for developing pulmonary valve regurgitation, such as pulmonary hypertension, endocarditis and rheumatic fever.
  • Diagnosis of pulmonary valve insufficiency typically includes blood tests and imaging tests.
  • Treatment for pulmonary valve insufficiency may include medication management or surgery.
Common related conditions
Heart (Cardiovascular) Disease

Overview

Your pulmonary valve is located between your right ventricle (lower right heart chamber) and your pulmonary (lung) arteries. When your pulmonary valve doesn’t close properly, this is known as pulmonary valve regurgitation or pulmonary valve insufficiency. Due to this, blood flows back into the heart before it flows out to the lungs to get oxygenated.

Pulmonary valve regurgitation causes

Pulmonary valve regurgitation can be caused by:

  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Endocarditis
  • Post-surgical complications for a tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) repair
  • Carcinoid syndrome
  • Rheumatic fever

Pulmonary valve regurgitation risk factors

Factors that can increase your risk of developing pulmonary valve insufficiency are:

  • Having carcinoid syndrome
  • Having endocarditis
  • Having pulmonary hypertension
  • Having rheumatic fever
  • Having undergone surgery to repair ToF

Pulmonary valve regurgitation symptoms

In its early stages, pulmonary valve regurgitation usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. When they do occur, signs and symptoms of this condition can include:

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Heart failure
  • Heart murmur or extra sound heard during the heart beat
  • Lightheadedness

Pulmonary valve regurgitation diagnosis

Your cardiologist will use one or more of the following tests to diagnose this condition:

  • Complete physical exam. Your doctor will perform a comprehensive physical exam, including asking about your personal and family health history.
  • Imaging tests. Your cardiologist may order imaging tests – such as a chest X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to obtain detailed images of your heart and valves.

Pulmonary valve regurgitation treatment

Treatment for pulmonary valve insufficiency focuses on treating the underlying condition. This may include medication management or surgical procedure. 

When to seek care

If you experience any of these symptoms, start by voicing your concerns and symptoms to your primary care provider. From there, your doctor may suggest seeing a cardiologist for more specialized treatment.