The pulmonary valve allows blood to flow into the pulmonary artery from the lower-right chamber (right ventricle) of the heart. Blood then travels to the lungs to pick up oxygen. But sometimes the valve does not work properly and blood flow backward into the right ventricle. This problem reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and can cause enlargement of the right ventricle.
The two main types of pulmonary valve disease are pulmonary stenosis and pulmonary valve regurgitation. Pulmonary stenosis is a narrowing, stiffening, or obstruction of the valve. Pulmonary valve regurgitation is a leaking of the valve.
Dignity Health offers advanced diagnostic procedures and treatments for pulmonary valve disease in the Bay Area. For personal care for a variety of heart conditions, use our online Find a Doctor tool.
Pulmonary Valve Disease Symptoms
Most people do not notice symptoms of pulmonary valve disease. Generally, a doctor detects it when listening to your heart with a stethoscope.
Pulmonary stenosis mainly affects children and can cause the following symptoms in advanced stages:
- Chest pain
- Fatigue or low tolerance for exercise
- Inability to gain weight
- Lacking energy (listlessness)
- Shortness of breath
- Turning blue around the lips
Causes of Pulmonary Valve Disease
A birth defect called “tetralogy of Fallot,” which involves four separate heart problems, is usually the cause of pulmonary regurgitation in infants. In adults, pulmonary regurgitation is often caused by pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery). Pulmonary stenosis is usually caused by a birth defect.
Treatment of Pulmonary Valve Disease at Dignity Health
Our treatment for pulmonary valve disease focuses on its underlying cause. Most cases of pulmonary valve disease fall into the mild-to-moderate range and never require treatment.
Treatments at Dignity Health may include medications to reduce pulmonary hypertension if it is causing pulmonary regurgitation and surgery to repair the heart defects involved in tetralogy of Fallot. Surgery to replace the pulmonary valve is an option in severe cases only.
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Dignity Health cardiologists offer excellence in treating pulmonary valve disease in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.