Tricuspid atresia is an abnormal development of the right side of the heart. It includes a missing valve between the upper and lower chamber and a smaller than normal lower chamber. Tricuspid atresia can make it difficult for your heart to efficiently pump blood to the lungs to get oxygen. Some may also have holes in the wall between the left and right side of the heart. The holes allow oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix.
Tricuspid atresia develops when the baby is in the womb. It is not known exactly why some hearts develop this way.
Factors that increase the risk for congenital heart defects like tricuspid atresia include:
Symptoms may include:
Tricuspid atresia may be diagnosed before birth.
After birth, the doctor may suspect a tricuspid atresia if the baby has a blue-ish color and a heart murmur is detected during a physical exam.
To confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the heart defects, your doctor may order imaging tests such as:
Treatment is important to prevent severe complications such as heart failure. Treatments may include:
Medication may be given to:
Oxygen may also be given to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood.
Surgery is often needed right away. Follow-up surgeries may also be needed at ages 3-6 months and 2-5 years.
The goal of surgery is to:
The exact surgery will depend on the type and severity of defects that are present. For example, a shunt may be placed to increase blood flow to the lungs. Later a series of surgeries will be done to reroute blood flow through the heart, lungs and body.
Preventing fetal heart defects may not always be possible. Good prenatal care may reduce some type of congenital heart defects. Prenatal care includes:
American Family Physician
American Heart Association
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Tricuspid atresia. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site508/mainpageS508P0.html. Accessed June 21, 2013.
Tricuspid atresia. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: http://www.chop.edu/service/cardiac-center/heart-conditions/tricuspid-atresia.html. Updated May 2013. Accessed June 21, 2013.
Tricuspid atresia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated March 29, 2013. Accessed June 21, 2013.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.