The pulmonary valve allows blood to flow one way from the right ventricle (lower-right chamber) of the heart into the pulmonary artery. However, the valve can malfunction and allow blood to flow backwards into the right ventricle. This can cause enlargement of the ventricle and reduced oxygenation of the blood.
The two main types of pulmonary valve disease are pulmonary valve regurgitation (leaking of the valve) and pulmonary stenosis (stiffening, narrowing, or obstruction of the valve).
Trust the cardiologists and specialists at Dignity Health Southern California to support you in protecting your heart health and providing personalized treatment. You can find our heart care programs at our state-of-the-art hospitals and heart care centers in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and San Bernardino. To learn more about our care for pulmonary valve disease in Southern California, Find a Doctor today.
Causes of Pulmonary Valve Disease
In adults, pulmonary regurgitation usually is caused by high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery (also called pulmonary hypertension). Pulmonary regurgitation in infants is usually caused by a birth defect called tetralogy of Fallot.
Pulmonary stenosis almost always occurs in childhood and is usually caused by a birth defect.
Pulmonary Valve Disease Symptoms
Pulmonary valve regurgitation is often detected by a physician while listening to the heart with a stethoscope. It rarely causes other noticeable symptoms.
Pulmonary stenosis, which mainly affects children, can produce the following symptoms in its advanced stages:
- Chest pain
- Inability to gain weight
- Fatigue or low tolerance for exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Turning blue around the lips
Treatment Options for Pulmonary Valve Disease at Dignity Health Southern California
For both pulmonary regurgitation and pulmonary stenosis, treatment focuses on the underlying cause of the valve disease. In cases where pulmonary hypertension causes pulmonary regurgitation, treating the hypertension eliminates the regurgitation. In cases involving heart defects due to tetralogy of Fallot, surgery is required.
Most cases of pulmonary valve disease fall into the mild-to-moderate range and never require treatment. Replacing the pulmonary valve through surgery is an option in severe cases only.
Rely on your care team to explain your treatment and help you know what to expect every step of the way.
Dignity Health is dedicated to providing complete care for cardiovascular conditions, including pulmonary valve disease, in Southern California.