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Pulmonary Stenosis

Pulmonary stenosis is a narrowing of the pulmonary valve that regulates the flow of blood from the right ventricle to the lungs. This narrowing may force the heart to pump harder to send blood to the lungs and lead to enlargement of the heart.

The heart consists of four chambers. The two upper chambers, called atria, where blood enters the heart and the two lower chambers, called ventricles, where blood is pumped out of the heart. The flow between the chambers is controlled by a set of valves that act as one-way doors.

Blood is pumped from the right side of the heart up through the pulmonary valve to the pulmonary artery to the lungs, where the blood is filled with oxygen. From the lungs, the blood travels back down to the left atrium and left ventricle. The newly oxygenated blood is pumped through another big blood vessel called the aorta to the rest of the body.

The pulmonary valve has three leaflets or valves that work to open and close the valve. Stenosis occurs when the valve does not open fully and obstructs blood flow. Stenosis may occur because the valve is deformed with only one or two leaflets, or because the leaflets are stuck together.

Our Approach to Pulmonary Stenosis

UCSF provides comprehensive, highly specialized care for adults living with heart defects such as pulmonary stenosis. Our dedicated team of experts offers a wide array of services, including thorough medical evaluations, advanced treatments, long-term monitoring, and personalized recommendations on diet, exercise, psychosocial support and family planning.

Surgeons may be able to repair the defect using a minimally invasive procedure called balloon valvuloplasty. During this procedure, the physician uses a thin, flexible tube to place and inflate a balloon in the narrowed valve, stretching it open, then deflates and withdraws the balloon. Balloon valvuloplasty is usually successful. However, adults with severe pulmonary stenosis often need to have the valve replaced entirely, with either a manufactured valve or an animal valve.

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UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.