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Diseases of the Pulmonary Valve

Diseases of the tricuspid and pulmonary valves are fairly rare. The pulmonary valve regulates the blood flow between the heart's lower-right chamber (the right ventricle) and the pulmonary artery, controlling the blood flow between the heart and lungs.

Diseases of the heart valves are grouped according to which valve or valves are involved and the amount of blood flow that is disrupted by the problem. Diseases of the tricuspid and pulmonary valves are fairly rare.

The pulmonary valve regulates the blood flow between the heart’s lower-right chamber (the right ventricle) and the pulmonary artery, controlling the blood flow between the heart and lungs.

Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

Pulmonary valve stenosis is usually present at birth. The condition means that the pulmonary valve or the pulmonary artery just below the valve are narrowed. This narrowing reduces the blood flow from the lower-right chamber (the right ventricle) into the lungs, where the blood goes to pick up oxygen.

What causes pulmonary stenosis?

Pulmonary stenosis is most commonly caused by a defect during fetal development. The condition affects approximately 1 out of 8,000 babies. Pulmonary stenosis later in life is associated with rheumatic fever, an infection of the heart’s inner lining (endocarditis), and other conditions that can cause damage to or scarring of the pulmonary valve.

What are the symptoms and signs?

Symptoms may not be present until the disease becomes more serious. When symptoms and signs do appear, they may include

  • Shortness of breath, especially during exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • A bluish tint to the skin (this is rare)
  • Poor weight gain (in babies)
  • A heart murmur

Surgery to repair the defect is usually done when patients are young, around preschool age.