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Tricuspid Valve Disease

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
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Causes

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

Risk Factors

Tricuspid valve 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 belly
  • Problems breathing

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. The doctor may ask about any past rheumatic heart disease. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the heart.

Pictures 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

There are no current guidelines to prevent tricuspid valve disease. Strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever. Treating the infection early may lower the risk of problems.

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.
  • Tricuspid valve disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/tricuspid-valve-disease.
 
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