Pulmonary regurgitation is characterized as a leaking pulmonary valve. The valve is responsible for controlling the blood flow passing from the heart to the lungs. If the valve is leaking, it allows the blood to flow back into the heart chamber before it reaches the lungs to be oxygenated.
What are the causes?
The usual causes for a leaking pulmonary valve is either pulmonary hypertension or a congenital heart defect.
Some of the uncommon cases include:
- Carcinoid syndrome
- Infective endocarditis
- Rheumatic fever and complications after catheterization
- Complications after surgery to fix tetralogy of Fallot
What are the indications of pulmonary regurgitation?
When it comes to this valve condition, there are no early symptoms present. The indications that might be detected in a medical assessment usually include a certain form of murmur that can be heard once the heart is between heartbeats.
Over time, whether due to a valve issue or the pulmonary hypertension might be responsible for the valve condition, the lower right chamber of the heart can end up enlarged. In rare instances, these conditions can later develop to heart failure which triggers more evident symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness, fatigue or fainting.
The treatment for pulmonary regurgitation is generally aimed on the underlying cause responsible for the valve condition. There are instances where the pulmonary valve is replaced but this is considered rare.