Pulmonary Regurgitation

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Pulmonary regurgitation is a condition where the pulmonary valve, which regulates blood flow from the right side of the heart to the lungs, doesn't close properly and a portion of it leaks back to the right side of the heart.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Regurgitation

Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing and fatigue, especially during exercise
  • Chest pain, such as squeezing, pressure or tightness
  • Sensation of rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Swelling of the legs or feet
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Bluish discoloration of the nails and lips (cyanosis)

Diagnosing Pulmonary Regurgitation

Your doctor may discover pulmonary regurgitation by the following:

  • Abnormal chest sounds, such as a heart murmur
  • Distention of the jugular vein in the neck
  • Enlargement of the liver
  • Retention of fluid in the ankles

Tests may include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Holter monitor

Pulmonary Regurgitation Treatment Options 

You may not need immediate treatment if you have mild or moderate symptoms. Treatment options may include:


Medication may be prescribed to treat specific symptoms associated with pulmonary regurgitation, including medication that removes extra water from the body or controls heart rhythm problems.


Common types of surgery for pulmonary regurgitation include:

  • Pulmonary valve replacement – This surgery involves removal of the diseased pulmonary valve and insertion of a new one.
  • Conduit replacement – This procedure involves placing a tube with a valve within it between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
  • Percutaneous Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve Replacement – A new option for patients with pulmonary regurgitation due to pulmonary conduit failure is the Melody valve. A tissue valve is inserted via catheter through a blood vessel in the leg. It can replace the pulmonary valve without having to do open heart surgery.


Content was created using EBSCO's Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.