If you have a heart murmur, it might be caused by pulmonary stenosis. Cardiologists at Rush offer cardiac catheterization, ECG, valvuloplasty and more.
"Stenosis" means "narrowing." Pulmonary valve stenosis is a narrowing of the one-way opening that lets blood flow from the heart to the lungs.
When the valve becomes too narrow, blood backs up. This can cause problems like irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), infection and heart failure.
Most pulmonary valve stenosis is present at birth (congenital) and is usually discovered when the doctor hears a murmur in the baby’s heart. The cause isn't known, but genetics might play a part. Pulmonary valve stenosis that's not congenital can result after surgery for other heart defects, or because of other health conditions such as rheumatic fever.
Pulmonary Stenosis Symptoms
If you have pulmonary valve stenosis, you might have no symptoms, or you might have one or more of the following:
- Heart murmur: a blowing, whooshing or grating sound heard through a stethoscope
- Chest pain, or angina
- Irregular, pounding or skipped heartbeats (palpitations)
- Swelling in the abdomen, feet or face
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- Fatigue, especially after exercising
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your primary care doctor as soon as possible. They may send you to a cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment.
Testing for Pulmonary Stenosis at Rush
Your Rush cardiologist might order one or more of the following tests to confirm your diagnosis of pulmonary valve stenosis:
- Imaging might include a chest X-ray, MRI and/or CT scan to get a thorough look at your heart and lungs.
- Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure in which dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube that's guided to your heart. The dye highlights your heart's arteries and shows how well your heart is functioning.
- Echocardiogram uses sound waves to show the structure and functioning of your heart.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the electrical activity of your heart and can show irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).
Pulmonary Stenosis Care at Rush
If you have mild to moderate pulmonary valve stenosis, you might not need treatment. Your doctor will monitor your condition.
If you have more severe pulmonary valve stenosis, a team of Rush experts — including an imaging cardiologist, an interventional cardiologist and a cardiovascular surgeon — will work together to assess your treatment options and talk through them with you.
For example, if you don't have other structural heart problems, you might be treated with a valvuloplasty, or balloon dilation, to stretch the narrow opening and allow more blood to flow through.
If valvuloplasty isn't an option for you, your team might recommend open-heart surgery to correct your stenosis or replace your pulmonary valve.
Rush Excellence in Pulmonary Stenosis Care
- A team that focuses on you: Rush's Structural Heart Disease Program brings together a team of specialists who discuss your case and create a customized treatment plan. You'll meet with them all together to discuss your options.
- Expert care: Rush's heart program is consistently ranked among the best in the country by U.S.News & World Report.
- State-of-the-art treatment options: Rush offers the latest in minimally invasive and non-invasive treatments for pulmonary valve stenosis.
- A collaborative space designed with you in mind: At Rush University Medical Center, all the specialists and services you need, from state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to procedure rooms to a family waiting area, are centralized. The setup is convenient for you — and it encourages cross-pollination among specialists so you get comprehensive, collaborative care.
- Care close to home: Depending on your treatment plan, you may be able to schedule pre-procedure and follow-up visits at a Rush location that's convenient for you.