What is pulmonary valve stenosis (also called PS)?
Pulmonary stenosis is a condition caused by a narrowing of the pulmonary valve opening. Pulmonary stenosis restricts blood flow from the lower right chamber (called the ventricle) to the pulmonary arteries, which delivers blood to the lungs. It is most commonly the result of a congenital heart defect. However, rarely PS can develop as a result of infections like rheumatic fever or carcinoid syndrome.
Who is at risk for pulmonary stenosis?
Pulmonary stenosis, which is rare among adults, is usually caused by a birth defect, also called a congenital heart defect. Moderate to severe PS is most often diagnosed during childhood due to the loud heart murmur associated with the condition.
What are the symptoms?
If PS is mild, there probably won't be any noticeable symptoms. If it's moderate or severe, you may experience some of the following:
- Low tolerance for exercise
- Abdominal distention
- Poor weight gain or failure to thrive
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or palpitations
- Cyanosis, or bluish tint to the skin, most notable in the nail beds or around the lips
What are the treatments and probable outcomes?
Treatment is needed when the pressure in the right ventricle is high (whether or not there are symptoms). High pressure in the ventricle can lead to enlargement of the heart and heart failure.
Ongoing Follow Up Care
Good news: People with mild pulmonary stenosis can often maintain heart function without getting worse. However, those with moderate to severe disease will nearly always need ongoing care to check for symptoms or problems related to PS and may need further procedures to correct the problem.
Even if it's mild or moderate, it’s important to have ongoing follow-up. A cardiologist can check for any signs of strain or weakening of your right ventricle, which can lead to worsening problems such as heart failure. The outlook is usually good with successful surgical procedures. The valve can be treated to improve the obstruction, but the valve can't be made normal.
This content was last reviewed on 02/18/13.