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Pulmonic valve stenosis (PS) is essentially a congenital disorder (Table 262-1). With isolated PS, the valve is typically domed. Dysplastic pulmonic valves are seen as part of the Noonan syndrome (Chap. 275), which maps to chromosome 12. Mutations in the PTPN1 gene are associated with about half of all cases of Noonan syndrome. Much less common etiologies include carcinoid and obstructing tumors or bulky vegetations. The pulmonic valve is only very rarely affected by the rheumatic process.

TABLE 262-1Causes of Pulmonic Valve Disease


PS is defined hemodynamically by a systolic pressure gradient between the right ventricle (RV) and main pulmonary artery (PA). RV hypertrophy (RVH) develops as a consequence of sustained obstruction to RV outflow, and systolic ejection is prolonged. Compared with the ability of the LV to compensate for the pressure overload imposed by aortic stenosis (AS), RV dysfunction from afterload mismatch occurs earlier in the course of PS and at lower peak systolic pressures, because the RV adapts less well to this type of hemodynamic burden. With normal systolic function and cardiac output (CO), severe PS is defined by a peak systolic gradient across the pulmonic valve of >50 mmHg; moderate PS correlates with a peak gradient of 30–50 mmHg. PS rarely progresses in patients with peak gradients <30 mmHg, but may worsen in those with moderate disease due to valve thickening and calcification with age. The RA a wave elevates in relation to the higher pressures needed to fill a noncompliant, hypertrophied RV. A prominent RA v wave signifies functional tricuspid regurgitation (TR) from RV and annular dilation. The CO is maintained until late in the course of the disease.


Patients with mild or even moderate PS are usually asymptomatic and first come to medical attention because of a heart murmur (or early systolic click) that leads to echocardiography. With severe PS, patients may report exertional dyspnea or early-onset fatigue. Anginal chest pain from RV oxygen supply-demand mismatch and syncope may occur with very severe forms of obstruction, particularly in the presence of a destabilizing trigger such as atrial fibrillation, fever, infection, anemia, or pregnancy.


The murmur of mild or moderate PS is mid-systolic in timing, crescendo–decrescendo in configuration, heard best in the left second interspace, and usually introduced by an ejection sound (click) in younger adults whose valves are still pliable. The ejection sound is the only right-sided acoustic event that decreases in intensity with inspiration. This phenomenon reflects premature opening of the pulmonic valve by the elevated RV end-diastolic ...

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