About the Tricuspid Valve
The tricuspid valve is located between the right atrium and the right ventricle of the heart. It has three leaflets (or flaps) that pump blood from the atrium into the ventricle.
Tricuspid Valve Disease
Tricuspid valve disease usually comes in two forms: tricuspid regurgitation and tricuspid stenosis.
Tricuspid regurgitation occurs when the tricuspid valve cannot fully close. The valves becomes leaky, allowing blood to flow backwards. This creates a buildup of pressure on the right side of the heart, which can cause structural damage and create other issues.
Tricuspid stenosis is much less common than tricuspid regurgitation. In tricuspid stenosis, the tricuspid valve stiffens, making it difficult for blood to flow out. The forces the heart to work harder with less blood supply, which can lead to right-sided heart failure.
Symptoms of Tricuspid Valve Disease
Symptoms of tricuspid disease may include:
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- weakness and fatigue
- swelling in the legs (edema)
To repair the tricuspid valve, our doctors perform a procedure known as an annuloplasty, which involves placing a ring around the valve to reinforce it and allow it to function better.
Very rarely, reinforcing the valve is not an option and a tricuspid valve replacement is recommended instead. During a Tricuspid valve replacement, a mechanical valve is placed between the right atrium and right ventricle in order to mimic the tricuspid valve.
Columbia has been at the forefront developing minimally invasive, robotic, and catheter-based approaches to heart valve repairs and replacements, allowing those who are higher-risk access to lifesaving surgery. Additionally, hybrid approaches for complex cases are performed routinely at our Heart Valve Center, such as a combined tricuspid valve repair and mitral valve replacement.