Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

The pulmonary valve is located between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery. It has three leaflets that act as a one-way door and allows the blood to flow forward into the pulmonary artery. The oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle is allowed to flow into the pulmonary artery through the pulmonary valve and then to your lungs. The oxygenated blood from the lungs returns into the left ventricle and distributed to the whole body.

Pulmonary valve stenosis is a rare congenital disorder. It occurs when the pulmonary valve is unable to open widely, and thus obstructing the blood flow to the lungs for oxygenation. The condition may range from mild to severe. In most of the cases, the condition may not require any treatment. However, the treatment is necessary when it causes severe symptoms.


The exact cause of pulmonary valve stenosis is still unclear. It is believed that the defect may occur due to abnormal development of the fetal heart during the pregnancy. The condition may also occur as a result of other congenital birth defects.

In pulmonary valve stenosis, one or more of the leaflets become thick leading to an abnormal opening of the valve and thus blood flow into the pulmonary artery is restricted.

In few cases, the pulmonary valve stenosis may occur as a result of other conditions such as carcinoid syndrome and rheumatoid fever. Pulmonary valve stenosis may also occur as a result of genetic predisposition.

As pulmonary valve stenosis is congenital, there are no known risk factors. However, few conditions may increase the risk of pulmonary valve stenosis which includes:

  • Carcinoid syndrome
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Noonan’s syndrome

Depending on the extent of blockage, the symptoms may vary. Mild pulmonary valve stenosis may not cause any symptoms and remains unnoticed. If the condition is moderate to severe, then you may have following signs and symptoms:

  • heart murmur
  • prominent and enlarged jugular vein
  • bluish discoloration of the skin
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • heart palpitations
  • unexplained fatigue
  • failure to thrive
  • shortness of breath

If the pulmonary valve stenosis is left untreated or unnoticed, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as:

  • Infectious endocarditis
  • Right ventricular hypertrophy
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeats

Pulmonary valve stenosis is diagnosed in the childhood, but if the disease is mild, it remains unnoticed. The pulmonary valve stenosis is suspected, when your doctor hears a heart murmur. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor might order any of the following tests:

  • Chest X-ray : The test provides the images of the internal tissues, organs, and bones.
  • Electrocardiogram : The test is used to identify the abnormal rhythms of the heart and helps to diagnose the condition.
  • Echocardiogram : The echo evaluates the structure and function of the heart by producing the moving images of the beating heart.
  • Cardiac catheterization : It is an invasive diagnostic procedure which provides detailed information regarding the structures of your heart.

The treatment of pulmonary valve stenosis depends on the severity. Doctor might recommend any of the following therapies to treat the condition.

Medications : Your doctor might order certain medications that restore the normal blood flow through the valve.

  • Prostaglandins- to improve the blood flow
  • Blood thinners- to reduce blood clotting
  • Antiarrhythmics- to prevent irregular heart rhythms

Balloon valvuloplasty : During the procedure, a small tube is threaded through the vein of your leg to the heart. The tube consists of a deflated balloon at the tip. After guiding the tube in the narrowed valve, the balloon is inflated to make the opening wider.

Open-heart surgery : During the surgery, the pulmonary valve is repaired, or artificial valve is placed to restore the normal blood flow.

The risk of other heart problems can be reduced if you adopt the following measures:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Maintain a heart-healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Perform regular physical activity
  • Undergoing regular health check-ups