Tricuspid regurgitation occurs when the tricuspid valve allows blood to enter the right atrium during a contraction of the right ventricle. This is most commonly due to disease that causes right ventricle dilatation and failure or failure of the left ventricle. Pulmonic regurgitation–the most common of pulmonic valve disease–tends to be secondary to pulmonary hypertension; meaning it is caused by primary abnormalities in the leaflets. Additional causes of tricuspid regurgitation include aortic and/or mitral valve disease, and infective endocarditis–inflammation of the inner tissue of the heart (such as its valves) caused by bacteria in the bloodstream, often the result of unsanitary intravenous needle use, rheumatoid arthritis, radiation therapy or Marfan’s syndrome, a genetic disorder of the connective tissue. Isolated pulmonary regurgitation typically can be tolerated for a long time without cardiac decompensation or damage to the heart.
Tricuspid and pulmonary stenosis is a condition where the valve leaflets become stiff and narrow, restricting the forward flow of blood. Tricuspid stenosis is extremely rare, occurring in less than one percent of the population. Rheumatic fever is usually the underlying cause, and tricuspid stenosis is almost invariably associated with mitral valve disease. Pulmonary stenosis is most often caused by a congenital (birth) heart defect.
Symptoms of tricuspid and pulmonary valve disease include:
- Atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm)
- Fatigue or weakness
- A fluttering discomfort in the neck or pulsing neck veins
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased urinary output
- Generalized swelling; commonly of the abdomen, feet and ankles