Key Points about Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
- Pulmonary valve stenosis can be a complication of another condition or can be due to a congenital (present at birth) heart defect.
- Diagnosis of pulmonary valve stenosis typically includes a physical exam and imaging tests.
- Depending on the condition's severity, treatment for pulmonary valve stenosis may include ongoing monitoring or surgery.
Your pulmonary valve is located between your right ventricle (lower right heart chamber) and your pulmonary (lung) arteries. Pulmonary valve stenosis causes the pulmonary valve opening to narrow, which slows blood flow. If not properly diagnosed and managed, this condition may lead to serious complications, such as heart failure or heart-pumping problems.
Pulmonary valve stenosis causes
In most cases, pulmonary valve stenosis is caused due to a complication of another illness, such as carcinoid syndrome or rheumatic fever. Sometimes, pulmonary valve stenosis is caused by a congenital (present at birth) heart defect.
Pulmonary valve stenosis risk factors
Factors that can increase your risk of developing pulmonary valve stenosis are:
- Carcinoid syndrome
- Noonan syndrome
- Pulmonary valve replacement
- Rheumatic fever
Pulmonary valve stenosis symptoms
If you have a mild case of pulmonary valve stenosis, you may not experience any symptoms. When they do occur, signs and symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis include:
- Chest pain
- Heart murmur (extra sound heard during the heart beat)
- Shortness of breath, especially during exercise
Pulmonary valve stenosis 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 and listening for a heart murmur using a stethoscope.
- Imaging tests. Your cardiologist may order imaging tests – such as an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scan – to obtain detailed images of your heart and valves.
Pulmonary valve stenosis treatment
Treatment for pulmonary valve stenosis may include:
- Ongoing monitoring. If your pulmonary valve stenosis is mild and not causing any complications, your cardiologist may recommend ongoing monitoring with regular office visits.
- Surgical procedure. If your pulmonary valve stenosis is more severe and causes complications, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure to correct it. Depending upon your situation, you may undergo a balloon valvuloplasty, which is a minimally-invasive procedure in which your cardiothoracic surgeon uses a tiny balloon on the end of a catheter (thin, flexible tube) to open up your valve. In other cases, you may need to undergo open-heart surgery to open up your valve.
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.