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Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation

more about Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation

Pulmonary valve insufficiency


  • During a normal heart's pumping action, blood is pumped from the right ventricle of the lower heart chamber, through the pulmonary valve into the pulmonary artery, which then carries the much-needed blood to the lungs.
  • The pulmonary valve is surrounded by three leaflets and a ring (annulus) that attaches it to the heart muscle, and acts like a door allowing pumped blood to travel to the lungs, while closing to prevent blood from flowing back into the right ventricle.
  • Valvular insufficiency occurs when the valve cannot close completely, causing blood to leak back into right ventricle.  Excess blood makes the ventricle work harder than normal.  Over time, unnecessary pressure on the right ventricle adversely affects its ability to pump blood (i.e., right-sided Heart Failure).
  • Right-sided Heart Failure leads to a build up of fluid in the rest of the body, primarily in the legs (edema); and symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, fainting on exertion, enlarged liver (hepatomegaly), chest pain, and cyanosis (bluish-tinged skin).
  • Right-sided Heart Failure is due to pulmonary Hypertension (primary or secondary), in which abnormally high pressure in the pulmonary vasculature causes a high pressure back up of the blood through the pulmonary valve and into the right ventricle.
  • This gradually leads to valvular insufficiency (widening, damage to the valve leaflets), mitral or aortic valve disease, or connective tissue diseases such as Marfan's Syndrome, in which dilation of the annulus or pulmonary artery near the valve causes regurgitation of blood across the pulmonary valve.  Other rare causes may be Infectious Endocarditis (infection of heart valves) or Chest Trauma.
  • Diagnosis is made by a clinical examination, chest X-Ray, echocardiography, or other radiological tests.  Treatment ranges from observation of asymptomatic patients, to medical management, to surgical correction in the case of a severely damaged valve.

more about Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation

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