Pulmonary valve stenosis is also sometimes referred to as heart valve pulmonary stenosis or valvular pulmonary stenosis. Pulmonary valvular stenosis is a health condition that usually makes itself known at birth (and therefore is congenital in nature) and in this case the blood that is being transported from the lower chamber of the heart (or the right ventricle) is obstructed in one way or another once it reaches the pulmonic valve. The pulmonic valve is the valve which provides separation between the heart and the pulmonary artery.
The most common reason for pulmonary valve stenosis to occur is when there is a malformation when the fetus is in its developmental stage. The precise cause of this heart problem is unclear. Sometimes a narrowing may show itself in the pulmonary valve or else the narrowing might occur beneath the pulmonary valve and be in the pulmonary artery instead.
Sometimes pulmonary valve stenosis is a defect that stands on its own but often times it appears alongside other defects of the heart. This problem can range from mild to moderate to severe and it known to occur in approximately ten percent of patients who have been diagnosed with congenital heart disease.
It is worth noting that while pulmonary valve stenosis is usually congenital, it does not have to be. This condition sometimes can show up later in a person life, such as in middle age and is generally the result of conditions such as endocarditis or rheumatic fever that have scarred or damaged the valves of the heart.
The symptoms of pulmonary valve stenosis include fatigue, shortness of breath, fainting, weakness, pain in the chest area, and a bluish coloration to the skin known as cyanosis. When babies show an inability to put on weight or else they show a failure at thriving in the infant stage pulmonary valve stenosis may be to blame.
Unfortunately this valve condition sometimes goes undetected and can lead to sudden death. In many cases pulmonary valve stenosis shows no symptoms whatsoever until it reaches the state of severe. When symptoms do show themselves they often will get decidedly worse as a result of exercise or other types of physical activity or exertion.
There are four tests that are used to diagnose pulmonary valve stenosis and thee include a chest x-ray, an ECG, an echocardiogram and cardiac catheterization. If one test proves inconclusive a doctor will order an other type of test until a proper diagnosis can be obtained.
In the case of mild valve stenosis often there is no need of treatment. When pulmonary valve stenosis stands alone without other types of heart defects, percutaneous balloon pulmonary dilation (or valvuloplasty) is often undertaken whereas heart valve surgery is common but rarely undertaken in a child until he or she is at least five or six years of age.
If the symptoms of the valve disorder are severe the patient is usually given oxygen before the surgery commences. Certain medications are sometimes given before surgery and these may include prostaglandins (PGE) to maintain a steady flow of blood, anti-arrhythmics to improve the functioning of the heart, diuretics to get rid of extra fluid around the heart and blood thinners to prevent the formation of clots.