Pulmonary Stenosis

The treatment for pulmonary stenosis depends on how narrow the valve is. If your child has other heart conditions, the kind of surgery needed will depend on how the heart can best be changed to cope with all the problems they have.

In many cases, pulmonary stenosis on its own will not cause a child to be unwell. If this is the case, then the child will have regular appointments with a cardiologist to check that their condition does not get any worse.

If there is severe narrowing, then the right ventricle will have too much work to do. In such cases, doctors will try to make changes that will allow more blood to be pumped through the pulmonary valve with less effort from the right ventricle.

For most children the following procedures are low risk, but it can depend on how well your child is otherwise. The doctors will discuss risks with you in detail before asking you to consent to the operation.

Balloon dilation

A tube is inserted through a vein in the groin and up into the heart. Once it reaches the right spot, a balloon on the end of the tube is inflated causing the narrow pulmonary valve to stretch. This does not leave any scar a child will only need to spend one or two days in hospital.

Corrective surgery

In very severe cases, open heart surgery may be needed. This means the heart will need to be stopped and opened to repair it. A machine called a heart bypass machine will take over the job that the heart normally does.

The aim of the operation is to make the area around the pulmonary stenosis bigger. Sometimes the pulmonary valve will also need to be replaced. The replacement valve is usually a homograft (a valve taken from a donor person). These valves may need replacing after a few years.

The length of time in hospital after surgery will usually be about 5-7 days, of which one or two will be spent in the intensive care and high dependency unit. Of course, this depends on how well a child is before and after the surgery, and whether any complications arise.

More about Pulmonary Stenosis

Author(s): Children’s Heart Federation
Last updated: 2009-12-09