Pulmonary Valve Disease
Find Pulmonary Valve Specialist
The pulmonary valve controls blood flow from your heart to your lungs. When this valve is defective or not functioning properly, it can cause problems in adulthood — even if the defect was repaired during childhood. It’s often caused by a problem with your heart that’s present at birth, called a congenital heart defect.
There are two types of pulmonary valve disease:
- Pulmonary valve stenosis
- Pulmonary valve regurgitation
In both conditions, the right ventricle of your heart enlarges, losing its ability to pump efficiently.
Our Approach to Treating Pulmonary Valve Disease
Our cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating pulmonary valve disease, offering the most advanced transcatheter interventions and valve surgery options, and using the least invasive treatment approaches whenever possible.
Your treatment plan depends on the type of pulmonary valve disease you have, as well as its severity. Our adult congenital heart experts will help you understand your disease and offer the most effective treatment option for your specific condition and unique lifestyle needs.
About Pulmonary Valve Disease
What Is Pulmonary Valve Stenosis?
Pulmonary valve stenosis occurs if your pulmonary valve is narrowed or cannot open fully. This causes blood flow to be restricted between your heart’s right ventricle and your lungs — increasing pressure in the right ventricle of your heart.
Pulmonary valve stenosis is usually present at birth (congenital) and may only need to be treated if severe.
What Is Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation?
If your pulmonary valve does not close completely, it allows blood to leak back into your heart before it reaches the lungs.
While many adults have minimal pulmonary valve regurgitation that is harmless, some people with congenital heart defects, such as tetralogy of Fallot, have severe regurgitation due to the corrective surgery performed during childhood.
Severe regurgitation should be closely monitored and treated.
What Are the Symptoms of Pulmonary Valve Disease?
If you have pulmonary valve disease, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical exertion
- A feeling that your heart is racing or skipping a beat
- Chest pain, which may be mild
- Dizziness or fainting
- Bluish nails, lips or skin
- Heart murmur
- Abdominal distention
- Swelling of the feet or legs
However, it’s best to get specialized adult congenital heart preventive care before symptoms develop.
How Is Pulmonary Valve Disease Diagnosed?
How Is Pulmonary Valve Disease Treated?
The type of pulmonary valve disease you have, as well as the severity of your disease, will determine how your condition is treated.
Treatment can involve medications, including diuretics (also known as water pills), which rid the body of excess water and relieve fluid buildup in the lungs and lower limbs.
If your condition is more severe, either catheter-based techniques or open-heart surgery may be needed to repair or replace your pulmonary valve.
Palpitations and fast heartbeats may signal abnormalities of the heart rhythm that may need medications or catheter-based treatment.
How We Treat Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
If pulmonary valve stenosis is severe, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive technique called balloon valvuloplasty.
During this procedure, your interventional cardiologist uses a small incision to thread a balloon-tipped tube through a vein in your inner thigh to your pulmonary valve. Inflation of the balloon stretches open the narrowed valve and can often completely relieve the narrowing once the balloon is deflated.
How We Treat Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation
If pulmonary valve regurgitation is severe, replacement of the valve may be necessary — even if you’re not yet experiencing symptoms.
While some people may require open-heart surgery to replace the valve, our interventional cardiologists are experts at using catheter-based techniques for pulmonary valve replacement as often as possible. For instance, we can sometimes replace a pulmonary valve using a specialized valve via a catheter placed through a small incision in the inner thigh.