While there's little you can do to prevent pulmonary valve stenosis, you can take measures to ensure you won't develop complications of your condition and stop it from worsening.
In the past, people with heart valve problems were advised to take antibiotics before certain dental and surgical procedures to prevent bacteria from causing an infection of the inner lining of the heart (infective endocarditis).
However, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association advise that antibiotics are no longer necessary for people who have only pulmonary stenosis. Instead, antibiotics are reserved for people at high risk of serious complications of infective endocarditis, such as those who have other heart conditions or artificial valves or who've had repair with prosthetic material.
If you've had your pulmonary valve replaced, you will still need preventive antibiotics before dental and other procedures.
Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle decreases your risk of developing other types of heart disease, such as heart attack. Lifestyle changes to talk to your doctor about include:
- Quitting smoking. Smoking and other tobacco use is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Try to avoid secondhand smoke, as well.
- Eating a heart-healthy diet. Focus on eating a diet that's low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. Try to eat more fruits and vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, and lean meat.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Excess weight may make you short of breath and may complicate heart surgery if you ever need it. Keep your weight within a range recommended by your doctor.
- Exercising. Physical activity may help to keep your body fit and may help you to recover faster if you ever need heart surgery. How long and hard you're able to exercise may depend on what level of activity triggers your symptoms, if any. Ask your doctor for guidance before starting any exercise program.
- Seeing your doctor regularly. Establish a regular appointment schedule with your cardiologist or primary care provider. Even if you had treatment for pulmonary valve stenosis as a child, you should still let your doctors know you've had the condition even if it hasn't caused any problems for you as an adult. Your doctors will likely want to continue to monitor your heart's condition.
Pregnancy generally isn't a problem for women who have mild to moderate pulmonary valve stenosis. If you have severe pulmonary valve stenosis, the risks of complications during labor and delivery are higher than those for women without the condition. If necessary, it is possible to undergo balloon valvuloplasty during pregnancy.
Dec. 06, 2011
- Keane MG, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of pulmonic stenosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- Pulmonic stenosis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/cardiovascular_disorders/valvular_disorders/pulmonic_stenosis.html. Accessed Sept. 14, 2011.
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- What is heart valve disease? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hvd/. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
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- Connolly HM. Carcinoid heart disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- ACC/AHA 2008 guidelines for the management of adults with congenital heart disease. Washington, D.C. and Dallas, Tex.: American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2008;52:e143.