Tricuspid Valve Disease
(Tricuspid Regurgitation; Tricuspid Stenosis)
DefinitionTricuspid valve disease refers to damage to the tricuspid heart valve. This valve is located between the atrium (upper chamber) and the ventricle (lower pumping chamber) of the right side of the heart. The tricuspid valve has three cusps, or flaps, that control the direction and flow of blood.The two main types of tricuspid valve disease are:
- Tricuspid stenosis—narrowing of the tricuspid valve
- Tricuspid regurgitation—backflow of blood into the atrium from the ventricle due to improper closing of the tricuspid valve flaps
|Anatomy of the Heart|
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CausesRheumatic fever is the most common cause of tricuspid valve disease (especially stenosis). Other causes include:
- Congenital heart problems
- Heart attack or coronary heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Endocarditis—heart infection or inflammation
- Trauma to the heart
Risk FactorsA personal history of rheumatic fever may increase your chance of getting tricuspid valve disease.
SymptomsIn many cases, there are no symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Fatigue, especially during physical activity
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal fullness
- Swelling in the legs or abdomen
- Changes in skin color
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may be alerted to tricuspid valve disease if you have a heart murmur . Images may need to be taken to examine your heart. This can be done with:electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG). Your heart's activity during exercise may be measured. This can be done with a cardiac stress test.
TreatmentIf you have mild tricuspid valve disease, your condition will need to be monitored, but may not need treatment right away. When symptoms become more severe, treatments may include:
MedicationsMedications may be prescribed to treat specific symptoms associated with tricuspid valve disease. These medications include:Medications may be prescribed to treat specific symptoms associated with tricuspid valve disease. These medications include:
- Diuretics to promote the production of urine
- Vasodilators, which dilate blood vessels
SurgeryIf tricuspid valve disease is causing severe problems, surgery to repair or replace the valve may be required.If tricuspid valve disease is causing severe problems, surgery to repair or replace the valve may be required.
PreventionTricuspid valve disease cannot be prevented. But, there are several things you can do to try to avoid some of the complications:
- Treat strep throat infections right away to avoid rheumatic fever, which can cause scarring of the heart valve.
- If your valve problem was caused by rheumatic fever, talk to your doctor about antibiotic treatment to prevent future episodes.
- Most people with a tricuspid valve defect do not need to take antibiotics to prevent infections before dental or medical procedures. But, there are exceptions. Check with your doctor to see if your condition requires you take antibiotics.
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Diseases of the tricuspid valve. Texas Heart Institute website. Available at: http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Topics/Cond/vtricus.cfm. Updated October 2013. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Premedication (antibiotics). American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/p/Premedication-or-Antibiotics.aspx. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Tricuspid valve disease. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/valve/tricuspid.aspx. Updated November 2012. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Tricuspid valve disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 13, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013
- Update Date: 08/18/2014