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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
Boston Children's Pulmonary Vein Stenosis Program team has many years of expertise in treating all types and stages of this rare condition.
In our Pulmonary Vein Stenosis Program and all of our pediatric heart programs, we use minimally invasive techniques—medical and surgical procedures that use small incisions and miniaturized cameras and tools—whenever we can. In fact, Boston Children's has a Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery that is a global leader in creating and refining new surgical approaches, and our Interventional Catheterization Program has given our clinicians an important new alternative to open-heart surgery for many children with heart conditions.
Your child's exact treatment plan will be determined by:
Children with pulmonary vein stenosis typically need one or more of the following procedures to combat the harmful narrowing process and restore adequate flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. In many cases, multiple interventions will be necessary over time, since the narrowing process can recur and become more pronounced even after catheterization or surgery.
Boston Children's has a program dedicated to interventional catheterization, the use of a thin tube called a catheter that is threaded from a vein or artery into the heart. The catheter can be used to fix holes and structural defects, open narrowed passageways (like those within the pulmonary veins) and create new passageways if needed.
The types of interventional catheterization used to treat pulmonary vein stenosis at Boston Children's are balloon dilation and balloon dilation and stent placement.
The most common interventional catheterization procedure used here at Boston Children's is balloon dilation. With the child under sedation, a small, flexible catheter is inserted into a blood vessel, most often in the groin. Using tiny, highly precise cameras and tools, clinicians guide the catheter up into the inside of the heart and then into the affected areas of the pulmonary veins. A deflated balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated once the tube is in place, and this balloon stretches the constricted area open, reversing the problematic narrowing.
The effects of balloon dilation can be amplified for some children with pulmonary vein stenosis by using a combination of balloon dilation and the placement of a balloon-expandable stent—a small, stainless steel tube. The stent is attached to the balloon dilation catheter as it is fed into the narrowed parts of the pulmonary veins.
The protective covering is removed when the catheter is in place, and the balloon is then inflated. The balloon affixes the stent within the pulmonary vein, stretching the narrowed area and propping it open.
Children may need several interventional catheterizations over time as they grow, since the narrowing process tends to recur and can become progressively worse.
Some children may need open-heart surgery to sufficiently widen the narrowed areas of the pulmonary veins and allow a return of healthy oxygenated-blood flow from the lungs to the heart. Learn more about heart surgery at Boston Children's.
In some cases, the extent of damage caused by pulmonary vein stenosis is too great to be reversed and cannot be managed adequately with interventional catheterization or surgical correction. For these children, a lung transplant to replace the lungs and pulmonary veins may be the only avenue of treatment. Learn more about Boston Children's Lung Transplant Program.
When your child has pulmonary vein stenosis, you are faced with many concerns and questions. Not only are you focused on meeting all of your child's medical needs; you are also confronting a significant emotional and psychological challenge that can affect every member of your family.
In addition to the clinical information offered on this page, Boston Children's has several other resources designed to give your family comfort, support and guidance:
View a general guide for Boston Children's patients and their families.
Please note that neither Boston Children's Hospital nor the Pulmonary Vein Stenosis Program at Boston Children's unreservedly endorses all of the information found at the sites listed below. These links are provided as a resource.
Helpful links for parents and families
Helpful links for teens
Helpful links for younger children
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We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”