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What are the treatment options for a leaky pulmonary valve?

Existing valve replacements cannot grow with people as they age, but a study using a person-specific pulmonary valve may introduce a "living" valvular construct that should grow with the person. This study is particularly important for young people who often require repeated operations for pulmonary valve replacements.

The pulmonary valve is a crescent-shaped valve that lies between the heart’s right ventricle and pulmonary artery. It is responsible for moving blood from the heart into the lungs.

While the study was conducted in vitro (outside of the body), the next step will be implanting the new valves into people to test their durability and longevity.

The researchers created a pulmonary valve that is unique to the individual and contains living cells from that person. That valve is less likely to be destroyed by the person’s immune system, thus improving the outcome and hopefully increasing the quality of life for the person. In the future, it may be possible to generate this pulmonary valve by using a blood sample instead of a skin biopsy.
Depending on the results of tests that reveal the size and function of the heart’s lower right pumping chamber (the right ventricle) and the pulmonary valve that conducts blood flow to the lungs, your doctor may recommend:
•Medicines to treat symptoms
•Open-heart surgery to replace the valve
•A catheter-based procedure to replace the pulmonary valve using a new valve placed inside of a metal cage (a stent). Valves replaced through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter are currently available, though may not be appropriate in all circumstances.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.