Pulmonary Stenosis or Pulmonary valve stenosis is a condition wherein, there is a block in the blood flow from the heart at the valve separating the heart from the pulmonary artery. This reduces the flow of blood into the lungs. The pulmonary valve is between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery. Its valves allow only one way flow. In Pulmonary Stenosis defect, it is seen that the pulmonary valve becomes hard and hence the flow of blood from the right ventricle to the lungs is reduced. It is often present at birth and hence affects children. Severe Pulmonary Stenosis may cause heart failure in children and may not show symptoms until adulthood.
Cause for Pulmonic Stenosis is not known, but it is seen mostly in unborn, developing babies. While congenital heart disease being the most common cause, Rheumatic Heart Disease or Malignant Carcinoid Tumor may also be taken into consideration. The defect may occur alone or with other heart defects. Though it is mostly seen in children, it may occur in later stage due to any damaged to the valves.
Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and fainting. Mild Stenosis may be left unnoticed for years but Severe Stenosis will show sudden symptoms(fainting or dizziness due to excessive exertion, swelling in the legs). Other symptoms of Pulmonary Stenosis include:
- Cyanosis(Discoloration of the skin)
- Poor weight gain
- Sudden Gain
Tests to diagnose Pulmonary Stenosis include Chest X-Ray, Electrocardiogram, Echocardiogram (ultra sound), Cardiac Catheterization and an MRI(Magnetic Resonance Imaging). The degree of stenosis is determined mainly by the Echocardiogram.
Treatment may not be required in many cases. Surgery may be performed to repair the defect. Valve Replacement may be done in rare cases. Blood thinners to prevent clot in the blood, anti-arrhythmics to help improve the functioning of the heart and water pills to remove excessive fluid may be prescribed to patients with Pulmonary Stenosis.
Complications associated with this defect may not been seen in all. A few observed complications include, Cyanosis(discoloration of skin), Right Ventricular Enlargement, Pulmonary Regurgitation (back flow of blood into the right ventricle) and Sudden Death.
Long term outlook after a surgery is good where after, no additional surgery and medication may be required. With Mild stenosis, only third get worse while one third remain the same and the other one third get better.