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Tricuspid Valve Disease

(Tricuspid Regurgitation; Tricuspid Stenosis)

Definition

Tricuspid valve disease is damage to a valve in the heart. This valve has three flaps that control the direction and flow of blood from the body to the lungs.
The two main types of this disease are:
  • Tricuspid stenosis—narrowing of the tricuspid valve
  • Tricuspid regurgitation—flaps do not close tightly and let blood flow backward
Anatomy of the Heart
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The valve may not develop the right way in some people. In other people, the disease may be caused by:

Risk Factors

This disease is more common in people who have had rheumatic heart disease.

Symptoms

Some people may not have symptoms. Others may have:
  • Fatigue, especially during activity
  • Lack of hunger
  • Abdominal fullness
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen
  • Problems breathing

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. You may be asked if you have had rheumatic heart disease. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the heart.
Images may be taken of the heart to confirm the diagnosis. This can be done with an echocardiogram.

Treatment

Treatment will depend on how severe the damage is. Only severe symptoms may need to be treated. This can be done with:
  • Medicines, such as diuretics to control fluid buildup or vasodilators to help open blood vessels
  • Surgery to repair or replace the valve

Prevention

Tricuspid valve disease itself cannot be prevented. Strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever. Treating the infection early may lower the risk of problems.

RESOURCES

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cardiovascular Society
http://www.ccs.ca
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca

References

Diseases of the tricuspid valve. Texas Heart Institute website. Available at: https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/diseases-of-the-tricuspid-valve. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Nishimura RA, Otto CM, et al. 2014 AHA/ACC Guideline for the Management of Patients With Valvular Heart Disease: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2014 Jun 10;129(23):e521-643.
Tricuspid valve disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905712/Tricuspid-valve-disease. Updated December 27, 2019. Accessed January 13, 2020.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2019
  • Update Date: 01/13/2020
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