Pulmonic Regurgitation

  • Print
Updated: Feb 17, 2015
  • Author: Xiushui (Mike) Ren, MD; Chief Editor: Richard A Lange, MD, MBA  more...
Overview

Background

The pulmonic valve is normally a thin tricuspid structure that prevents blood from regurgitating into the right ventricle once ejected into the low-pressure pulmonary circulation. Pulmonic regurgitation refers to retrograde flow from the pulmonary artery into the right ventricle during diastole. Physiologic (trace-to-mild) pulmonic regurgitation is present in nearly all individuals, particularly in those with advanced age. However, pathologic conditions that produce excessive and clinically significant regurgitation can result in impairment of right ventricular function and eventual clinical manifestations of right-sided volume overload and heart failure. Often, pulmonic regurgitation is not the primary process but a finding secondary to an underlying process such as pulmonary hypertension or dilated cardiomyopathy.

Next:

Pathophysiology

Incompetence of the pulmonic valve occurs by 1 of 3 basic pathologic processes: dilatation of the pulmonic valve ring, acquired alteration of pulmonic valve leaflet morphology, or congenital absence or malformation of the valve.

Previous
Next:

Frequency

United States

Physiologic pulmonic regurgitation is present in nearly all individuals and is a normal echocardiographic finding. Pulmonic regurgitation detected by physical examination is not a normal finding in healthy adults. Congenital pulmonic regurgitation and congenital absence of the pulmonic valve are rare conditions.

International

No difference in international incidence is known.

Previous
Next:

Mortality/Morbidity

The morbidity and mortality rates associated with pulmonic regurgitation vary considerably, depending on the underlying etiology.

Race

No racial or ethnic predilection exists.

Sex

Differing frequency of pulmonic regurgitation between men and women corresponds to the specific etiology resulting in pulmonic regurgitation.

Age

Except for congenital absence of the pulmonic valve, which is more likely to cause right-sided ventricular decompensation early in life, the age at which clinical symptoms of pulmonic regurgitation occur is variable and is primarily related to the underlying process causing the pulmonic regurgitation.

Previous