Pulmonary valve insufficiency is a relatively rare disease of the heart valve, which is usually a symptom of a disease. In very few cases does pulmonary valve insufficiency require treatment; However, if the disease progresses severely, an operation is also possible, so that a heart valve replacement is required.
What is pulmonary valve insufficiency?
The doctor speaks of pulmonary valve insufficiency when the so-called closure of the pulmonary valve no longer functions properly. The heart valve or pulmonary valve is located between the heart and the pulmonary artery. The task of the pulmonary artery is that the oxygen-poor blood is drained directly from the heart and transported to the lungs. See topbbacolleges for Definitions of Hypodontia.
The pulmonary valve can be seen as a valve that ensures that the blood that is passed on can no longer flow back into the heart. However, if there is pulmonary valve insufficiency, it is no longer possible to prevent blood flow. In many cases, a small amount of leakage is normal; that causes neither symptoms nor complaints.
In many cases, pulmonary valve insufficiency occurs when the blood pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs is too high. Other reasons for pulmonary valve insufficiency are injuries to the pulmonary valve or inflammation. In very few cases is pulmonary valve insufficiency congenital.
Inflammation is mainly caused by bacteria. For example, when people addicted to drugs inject drugs. Due to the contaminated syringe set, it is possible that the bacteria get directly into the vein and from there work their way to the heart valves and subsequently trigger an inflammation.
However, there is also the possibility that other diseases can trigger pulmonary valve insufficiency. As a further consequence, pulmonary valve insufficiency can also occur due to an advanced course of an underlying disease.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The so-called primary pulmonary valve insufficiency is often asymptomatic. This means that the patient does not complain of any symptoms or discomfort; as a result, people live for years with pulmonary valve insufficiency, which remains undiagnosed. However, if there is a secondary pulmonary valve insufficiency, different symptoms appear. Above all, exertional dyspnea develops. The affected person suffers from cyanosis or also complains about a significant reduction in performance.
Diagnosis & course of disease
A physical examination is performed as part of the diagnosis. The doctor examines the person concerned for peripheral edema or hepatomegaly and also examines the upper inflow congestion. If there is already pronounced pulmonary valve insufficiency, ascites can sometimes also be diagnosed. During the auscultation, it is possible that a widely split second heart sound occurs.
Sometimes the Graham Steell noise can also be heard. The doctor then also takes an X-ray of the chest or can detect a significantly enlarged pulmonary artery in the cardiac MRI, which becomes visible in the right ventricle. Using color Doppler echocardiography, it is possible for the doctor to also assess the extent of the pulmonary valve insufficiency.
The course of the disease mainly depends on the underlying disease of the patient. An exact prognosis can therefore not be given; pulmonary valve insufficiency can also remain untreated and thus pose no risk to the health and life of the patient. In severe cases, the patient has to be operated on, so that life is definitely at risk.
For those reasons, it is therefore imperative that the medical professional also diagnoses the cause of the pulmonary valve insufficiency; especially since the treatment of the underlying disease is an essential part of the therapy.
Pulmonary valve insufficiency is usually acquired, but in rare cases it can also be caused by a genetically determined malformation of the heart valve. The vast majority of genetically determined cases of pulmonary valve insufficiency are almost symptom-free. The slight backflow of blood from the pulmonary artery into the right ventricle during the relaxation phase (diastole) is usually not noticed, so that the insufficiency often remains undetected for a period of many years.
Even if left untreated, the mild pulmonary valve insufficiency does not cause any complications. Deficits in performance can only become apparent with greater physical exertion. A different picture emerges in the case of acquired valvular insufficiency, which manifests itself in symptoms of varying severity and, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications. Such signs are shortness of breath under stress and cyanosis, an externally visible blue discoloration of the skin due to a lack of oxygen in the returning veins.
In addition, there is almost always a loss of performance because the right ventricle cannot ensure adequate blood flow in the lungs due to the blood returning from the pulmonary artery. Untreated, acquired pulmonary valve insufficiency can lead to serious complications. Due to the reduced performance of the right heart, peripheral edema can develop in the extremities and in the abdomen in the form of ascites.
A pathologically enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) can also be caused by an underperforming right heart. In order to avoid irreversible consequential damage from heart valve disease, treatment of the leaking pulmonary valve in the sense of combating the cause is recommended.
When should you go to the doctor?
Since pulmonary valve insufficiency does not heal itself and in the worst case can even lead to the death of the affected person, this disease must always be treated by a doctor. The sooner this disease is recognized and treated, the higher the probability of a full recovery. A doctor should be consulted for pulmonary valve insufficiency if the patient suffers from severe pain in the heart area. The pain can also spread to the chest.
There is also reduced performance, so that the person concerned can no longer carry out strenuous activities or sports. Cyanosis can also indicate pulmonary valve insufficiency and should always be examined by a doctor. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time and occur for no particular reason, a doctor should always be consulted immediately.
Pulmonary valve insufficiency must be evaluated and treated by a cardiologist. Since the disease is usually treated by surgery, a stay in a hospital is necessary. With early treatment, the life expectancy of those affected usually does not decrease.
Treatment & Therapy
The primary pulmonary valve insufficiency is only treated in very few cases. Probably also because many people do not even know that they suffer from pulmonary valve insufficiency. This is because no complaints or symptoms occur and primary pulmonary valve insufficiency often goes unnoticed for years or is only discovered by chance – during a routine examination.
As a rule, therefore, no therapy is required. Especially when the right ventricle of the heart shows an adaptation of the low-pressure volume load. However, if pulmonary hypertension is present, therapy – for example in the form of endocarditis prophylaxis – must be started. But only if the doctor also knows what the trigger for the pulmonary valve insufficiency is.
In the case of secondary pulmonary valve regurgitation, however, things are a little different. The doctor mainly deals with the cause before starting the treatment. In many cases, the treatment of pulmonary valve insufficiency is a treatment of the underlying disease; In many cases, the pulmonary valve insufficiency is merely the symptom, so that the pulmonary valve insufficiency does not have to be treated directly, but the main focus is on treating the cause.
In many cases, if the course of the disease is drastic or if the symptoms and complaints become more severe, an operation can help. As part of the surgical treatment, a heart valve replacement is used to remedy the pulmonary valve insufficiency. However, operations only play a major role in very few cases; As a rule, it is a non-treatable disease that only causes problems in the rarest of cases.
Pulmonary valve insufficiency can only be prevented to a limited extent. It is advisable that underlying diseases that can trigger pulmonary valve insufficiency are prevented. People who are addicted to drugs should therefore ensure that sterile injection equipment is used.
If symptoms occur, it is important to contact a doctor who can clarify whether it is pulmonary valve insufficiency and what form it is. In particular, people who are affected by an underlying disease that can trigger pulmonary valve insufficiency should have regular check-ups.
Since primary pulmonary valve insufficiency is often only discovered as an incidental finding, there is no special therapy or aftercare for it. However, anyone who notices symptoms such as a reduction in physical performance, shortness of breath or bluish mucous membranes (cyanosis) should immediately consult their family doctor or a cardiologist for clarification.
Since the secondary pulmonary valve insufficiency is usually the symptom of another underlying disease, the doctor will focus on treating it. Accordingly, the aftercare will also be adapted to the underlying disease. However, if the secondary pulmonary valve insufficiency is so severe that heart valve replacement is necessary, the patient must undergo regular check-ups with a cardiologist.
As part of these examinations, the valve function is checked using echocardiography. The first follow-up should take place about three months after the operation and rehabilitation. Patients with a biological valve replacement still need anticoagulant therapy (inhibition of blood clotting) for up to three months postoperatively, but patients with a new mechanical valve need it for life.
In addition, lifelong endocarditis prophylaxis is necessary before and after operations on the upper respiratory tract and in the mouth and throat area. Patients in the risk group should also consult a doctor immediately if they have a fever or other signs of an infectious disease. As a rule, those affected are given an endocarditis passport, which contains all the important information and should always be carried with them.
You can do that yourself
Pulmonary valve insufficiency is often asymptomatic. This often applies to congenital heart valve defects. Of course, if there are no symptoms of illness, there is no reason for self-help measures. This changes, however, if the disease is accidentally diagnosed after heavy physical exertion, which has resulted in shortness of breath or even loss of consciousness. If these symptoms occur, the person concerned should first urgently consult a doctor and describe the symptoms.
If the diagnosis “pulmonary valve insufficiency” is established, the doctor will determine the severity of the disease and clarify further treatment options. However, therapy is often not necessary. However, the patient himself is responsible for positively influencing the disease process through self-help. Regardless of the state of the disease, it is beneficial to collect information or exchange experiences within the framework of self-help groups or societies. This means that many patients with mild heart valve insufficiency can already be relieved of their great fears. Experiences are passed on here, how in these cases an adapted lifestyle can even strengthen the heart without therapy. Possible solutions are also shown for serious heart defects that require treatment.
Important societies and self-help groups include the “German Society for Cardiology ” and the self-help group “Deutsche Herzstiftung e. V.”. There, the patient is extensively informed and also has the opportunity to exchange experiences with other affected people. The isolation of the individual patients can be broken with the help of these self-help groups, thereby improving the general quality of life.