Tricuspid Valve Disease
En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition
Tricuspid 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

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes
Rheumatic fever is the most common cause of tricuspid valve disease. Other causes include:

Risk Factors
Factors that increase your chance of getting tricuspid valve disease include:

  • History of rheumatic fever
  • Sex: female—for tricuspid stenosis
Symptoms
In many cases, there are no symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sensation of rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen
Diagnosis
The doctor will ask 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:

Your heart's electrical activity may need to be measured. This can be done with electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG).

Treatment
If 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:

Medications
Medications may be prescribed to treat specific symptoms associated with tricuspid valve disease. These medications include:

  • Drugs to control heart arrhythmias
  • Diuretics to promote the production of urine
  • Vasodilators, which dilate blood vessels
Surgery
If tricuspid valve disease is causing severe problems, surgery to repair or replace the valve may be required.

Prevention
Tricuspid 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.



RESOURCES:
American Heart Association

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Canadian Cardiovascular Society

The College of Family Physicians of Canada

References:
Premedication (antibiotics). American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/p/Premedication-or-Antibiotics.aspx . Accessed June 28, 2013.

Diseases of the tricuspid valve. Texas Heart Institute website. Available at: http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Topics/Cond/vtricus.cfm . Updated August 2012. Accessed June 28, 2013.

Tricuspid valve disease. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/valve/tricuspid.aspx . Updated November 2012. Accessed June 28, 2013.

Last Reviewed June 2013



Health Information Library content is provided by EBSCO Publishing, fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

 

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

 

To send comments or feedback to EBSCO's Editorial Team regarding the content please e-mail healthlibrarysupport@ebscohost.com.