Surgical options to restore blood flow from the heart to the lungs

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 surgery 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 is usually 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

Conditions

Pulmonary artery stenosis

Pulmonary artery stenosis is a congenital heart defect that causes the artery delivering blood to the lungs to be abnormally narrow.

Pulmonary atresia

Pulmonary atresia is a congenital heart disorder that causes malformation of the valve controlling blood flow to your lungs.

Pulmonary regurgitation

Pulmonary regurgitation is a leakage of blood back into the heart before it reaches the lungs.

Pulmonary valve disease

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

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.

Tests

Cardiac Catheterization

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.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology used to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Our locations

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

Read our Cardiovascular Performance & Outcomes Booklet

Ask MHVI

Have questions for our heart and vascular specialists? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net