Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

What is Pulmonary Valve Stenosis?

Pulmonary Valve Stenosis is a congenital condition where the valve that moves blood between the right ventricle of your heart and the main artery in your lungs doesn’t open properly.

Inside the pulmonary valve, three thin flaps of tissue called leaflets are arranged in a circle. When the heart beats, the valve opens towards the pulmonary artery and then closes to keep blood from flowing back into the heart. People with pulmonary valve stenosis don’t have these leaflets formed properly, or they don’t close properly.

Patients with pulmonary valve stenosis are born with it. About 1 in 8,000 babies have the condition. Not all of them require treatment or surgery.

What are the Symptoms of Pulmonary Valve Stenosis?

Symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis are similar to other types of pulmonary valve disease. Signs include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and fainting, and chest pain.

Babies who have pulmonary valve stenosis might not gain weight appropriately or may be diagnosed as “failure to thrive.” Some patients also have heart murmurs or other heart beat irregularities.

Pulmonary Valve Stenosis Causes

Since it is a rare disorder, doctors do not know the exact causes of the condition. The narrowing of the pulmonary valve occurs mostly at birth (congenital). It is believed to be due to problems that arise as the baby develops in the mother’s womb. During pregnancy, the fetus’s valve may fail to develop as required.

The narrowing of the valve itself is the one referred to as pulmonary valve stenosis and can either be mild or severe. The contraction may occur before or after the valve and can either occur alone or alongside other heart defects present at birth. Genes may also play a role in its occurrence.

Adults may also get affected as a result of a heart illness. Similarly, other conditions may cause complications leading to pulmonary valve stenosis. The conditions include carcinoid tumors and rheumatic fever.

Pulmonary Valve Stenosis Causes

Since it is a rare disorder, doctors do not know the exact causes of the condition. The narrowing of the pulmonary valve occurs mostly at birth (congenital). It is believed to be due to problems that arise as the baby develops in the mother’s womb. During pregnancy, the fetus’s valve may fail to develop as required.

The narrowing of the valve itself is the one referred to as pulmonary valve stenosis and can either be mild or severe. The contraction may occur before or after the valve and can either occur alone or alongside other heart defects present at birth. Genes may also play a role in its occurrence.

Adults may also get affected as a result of a heart illness. Similarly, other conditions may cause complications leading to pulmonary valve stenosis. The conditions include carcinoid tumors and rheumatic fever.

How is Pulmonary Valve Stenosis Treated?

Some cases of pulmonary valve stenosis do not require any treatment because symptoms are mild. Your doctor may suggest tests such as an echocardiogram or magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI), to show how the valve is functioning.

Your doctor may also prescribe medications to improve blood flow and prevent clots, as well as a diuretic that prevents buildup of fluid in the lungs.

Surgery can fix the valve’s malfunction or can replace the valve if it is particularly weak or malformed. Valvuloplasty, which works like an angioplasty in the heart artery, stretches the walls of the pulmonary valve to increase capacity for blood flow.

Pulmonary Valve Stenosis Prevention

Pregnant women with mild to moderate pulmonary valve stenosis do not need to worry much. However, expectant mothers with the most severe form of the condition have increased risks of labor complications than pregnant women without the condition. If necessary, one can go for balloon valvuloplasty.

Adopting a healthy heart lifestyle can significantly prevent other heart conditions. Some of the changes to consider include:

  • Exercises and maintenance of proper weight. It is important to keep the appropriate weight and avoid complications in case surgery is required. Physical exercise also helps keep the body fit and enhance recovery in case surgery is ever made.
  • Avoid first-hand and second-hand smoking. Tobacco smoke poses serious health challenges to the heart.
  • Eat a healthy diet. This diet should include an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • See a cardiologist regularly. These care providers can help in keeping watch of one’s heart health and reduce the possibility of developing any other types of heart conditions.