Surgical options to restore blood flow from the heart to the lungs
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
If medication and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to manage your pulmonary valve disease, you doctor may recommend repairing or replacing the valve to restore normal blood flow and reduce symptoms.
Doctors in our Structural Heart and Valvular Disease Program treat a full range of pulmonary valve diseases and will work with you to determine the best treatment option for your unique condition.
Pulmonary valve repair
Whenever possible, we prefer to repair the valve rather than replace it. Repair uses your own tissue, carries a lower risk of infection than replacement and reduces the need to take blood-thinning medications for the rest of your life.
The surgeon may be able to separate fused valve flaps, reconstruct or reshape flaps, or patch a hole. Pulmonary valve repair usually is performed through traditional open-heart surgery. However, if you have pulmonary valve stenosis, in which the valve is stiff or narrow and can’t open fully, we may be able to use a minimally invasive approach known as balloon valvuloplasty. In this catheter-based procedure, a tiny balloon is inflated in the valve to widen it.
Pulmonary valve replacement
Not all valves can be repaired and instead may need to be replaced. There are two options with which to replace your pulmonary valve:
- Biological valves: These valves may be made from cow or pig tissue and supported with mechanical parts. Biological valves do not require that you take blood-thinning medications, but they degenerate over time and may need to be replaced.
- Mechanical valves: These valves may be made of plastic, carbon or metal and will require blood thinners to reduce the risk of bleeding and stroke. These valves often are recommended for young adults because they last longer than a biological replacement.
Aortic valve replacement can be done through traditional open-heart surgery or through minimally invasive methods that:
- Access the heart by guiding a thin, flexible tube known as a catheter through a blood vessel in your groin or chest. This is known as transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement (TPVR).
- Use a few small incisions instead of opening your chest.
Pulmonary artery stenosis is a congenital heart defect that causes the artery delivering blood to the lungs to be abnormally narrow.
Pulmonary atresia is a congenital heart disorder that causes malformation of the valve controlling blood flow to your lungs.
Pulmonary regurgitation is a leakage of blood back into the heart before it reaches the lungs.
Pulmonary valve disease includes several conditions that affect the pulmonary valve, through which blood passes as it travels from the heart to the lungs.
Pulmonary stenosis, also known as pulmonary valve stenosis, is a narrowing of the heart’s pulmonary valve. This narrowing slows blood flow from the heart to the lungs.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.