Pulmonary valve stenosis is a narrowing of the pulmonary valve that slows blood flow from the heart to the lungs. It is a common heart defect. The heart’s pulmonary valve opens to allow blood to flow from the right ventricle to the lungs. When the pulmonary valve narrows (stenosis), this ventricle has to pump harder, which can cause higher pressure in the right ventricle. This can damage the heart muscle over time and contribute to heart failure.

Causes of pulmonary valve stenosis

Pulmonary valve stenosis is usually a congenital heart defect, and the exact cause is not known. Mothers who have rubella (German measles) during pregnancy are more likely to have babies who have congenital pulmonary valve stenosis and other heart defects. Rheumatic fever, a complication of strep throat infection, also can cause pulmonary valve stenosis.

Symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis

Mild cases of pulmonary valve stenosis often cause no symptoms. More severe cases cause symptoms including:

  • Heart murmur (an abnormal whooshing sound heard using a stethoscope, caused by the blood not flowing smoothly)
  • Shortness of breath, especially during exertion
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of consciousness (fainting)
  • Fatigue

Diagnosis of pulmonary valve stenosis

At Ohio State, we ensure that each patient receives individualized care for their congenital heart defect. By creating a care team to diagnose and treat each case, we can better understand what steps will help patients get back to living their lives.

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How Ohio State treats pulmonary valve stenosis

Most people who have mild pulmonary valve stenosis do not need treatment. All cases should be regularly monitored to ensure the condition does not become serious. A stenotic pulmonary valve cannot be made normal, but the obstruction can be improved.

Surgery and procedures

Balloon valvuloplasty can often alleviate the obstruction. Open heart surgery may be necessary in other cases.

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