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What Is Pulmonary Stenosis?

Pulmonary stenosis (pronounced PULL-mun-airy sten-OH-sis) is a heart condition in which the pulmonary valve, the one-way door that allows blood to flow from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs, cannot open completely.

Because the pulmonary valve cannot open all the way, the right ventricle must pump harder to move the blood from the heart to the lungs. As a result, the right side of the heart may enlarge and thicken.

Pulmonary stenosis may be the only heart problem a child has, or it may be one part of a more complicated heart condition.

Pulmonary Stenosis in Children

Pulmonary stenosis is a congenital problem with the pulmonary valve.

There is a wide range of severity. A newborn or young infant with severe pulmonary stenosis can be quite sick. Children with mild pulmonary stenosis may have no symptoms. Most children with the condition are healthy and have no symptoms at all.

Pulmonary stenosis can become worse with time. Most children with this problem are followed by a cardiologist for years.

We don’t know why the pulmonary valve develops abnormally in some babies. Genetics may play a role.

Pulmonary stenosis can also occur later in life as a result of some other condition that damages the heart valves, such as rheumatic fever.

Pulmonary Stenosis at Seattle Children’s

Not all children with pulmonary stenosis require treatment. If treatment is indicated, our team has expertise in the treatment of this condition in infants and children. We see many children each year with this problem. Often children with pulmonary stenosis need cardiac catheterization. Less commonly the condition requires surgery.

When you come to Children's, a team of people will take care of your child. Along with your child's cardiologist, we have neonatologists, pulmonologists (lung doctors), nurses, child life specialists, social workers and others available, if their expertise is needed. We also have a pediatric cardiac anesthesia team and a cardiac intensive care unit ready to care for children who undergo heart surgery. Together we work to meet all of your child's health needs and help your family through this experience.

Since 1907, Children's has been treating children only. Our team members are trained in their fields and also in meeting the unique needs of children. For example, the doctors who give your child anesthesia are board certified in pediatric anesthesiology. This means they have extra years of training in how to take care of kids. Our child life specialists know how to help children understand their illnesses and treatments in ways that make sense for their age. Our expertise in pediatrics truly makes a difference for our patients and families.

The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program shared by Children’s and the University of Washington can help with care throughout your child’s life.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

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Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Understanding the Power and Influence of Role Models
  • Legal Marijuana Means Greater Poisoning Risks for Children
  • Why Choose Pediatric Emergency Care?

Download Summer 2014 (PDF)