About the disease
Pulmonary valve insufficiency is a disorder of the pulmonary valve structure, when blood starts to flow backwards instead of towards the lungs. People with this disease usually have a murmur in their heart caused by high pressure in the arteries and lungs. In most cases, this disease is congenital, but it can also develop in someone who has a long history of hypertension. This disease can also be caused by endocarditis, which is inflammation, and by lung disease when the lungs are not able to process the blood flow generated by the pulmonary valve. According to medical website NorthwellHealth.com, this type of insufficiency can also affect other valves, such as the mitral, aortic and tricuspid valve, which is why it is so important to treat it in time. This disease is very rare, but it can result in such complications as ventricular dilation. The prognosis for such a disease is usually favorable. According to American website MedScape, reintervention of the valve occurs in 93.5% of cases following valve replacement.
- Heart murmur
- Shortness of breath
- Blue lips
- Feet swelling
In 80% of cases, this disease is asymptomatic. 10% of patients suffer from artery hypertension. In 5% of cases, symptoms are severe.
If pulmonary valve insufficiency is asymptomatic, its main manifestation is a heart murmur. The most precise diagnostic methods are:
- Echocardiography is commonly used for diagnosis of this disease. It generates sound waves and creates an exact picture to show whether blood flow is working in the right way or if it is flowing backwards.
- A Chest X-Ray can show if there are any problems with the lungs that could have caused this disease.
- A Cardiac MRI generates magnetic waves that can assess the condition of the heart chambers, thus detecting any changes in pulmonary valve structure.
- During an Electrocardiogram, electrodes are applied to a patient's chest, to see the heart’s activity.
- Pulse oximetry is the monitoring of oxygen levels, which is needed to assess whether there is enough blood supplied to the lungs.
Pulmonary valve insufficiency treatment has options such as:
- Pulmonary valve repair
- Pulmonary valve replacement
Pulmonary valve repair is usually performed if insufficiency is congenital. It is well tolerated by both children and adults. During this surgery, the surgeon repairs the pulmonary valve so that it pumps the blood in the right direction. A surgeon may perform trimming and reshaping of the heart flaps if they are the reason for valve insufficiency. If there is a problem with the ring of tissue to which the flaps are connected, a surgeon can perform an annuloplasty, which is another type of repair.
Pulmonary valve replacement is performed in more progressed stages of this disease. There are two types of valve replacement:
- Mechanical valve
- Bioprosthetic valve
Bioprosthetic replacement uses the valve of an animal, such as a cow or a pig.
The newest types of pulmonary valve insufficiency treatment include pulmonary homograft and the Melody valve treatment. A pulmonary homograft is usually used for the treatment of children, because it can adapt to the body as the child grows. Melody valve treatment is a less invasive valve replacement and is inserted into the heart through a blood vessel in the patient’s leg.