Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Before birth

Because of advances in ultrasound technology, it's possible for a baby to be diagnosed with tricuspid atresia before he or she is born. Doctors can identify the condition on a routine ultrasound exam during gestation.

After birth

After your baby is born, his or her doctor may suspect a heart defect, such as tricuspid atresia, if your baby has blue-tinged skin or is having trouble breathing. Your baby's doctor may also suspect a heart defect if he or she hears a heart murmur — an abnormal whooshing sound caused by turbulent blood flow.

Doctors typically use an echocardiogram to diagnose tricuspid atresia. This test uses sound waves that bounce off your baby's heart to produce moving images your baby's doctor can view on a video screen.

In a baby with tricuspid atresia, the echocardiogram reveals the absence of a tricuspid valve and a smaller than normal right ventricle. Because this test tracks blood flow, it can also measure the amount of blood moving through holes in the walls between the right and left sides of the heart. In addition, an echocardiogram can identify associated heart defects, such as an atrial septal defect or a ventricular septal defect.

Nov. 08, 2012