Tricuspid valve disease is a condition in which the valve between the two right heart chambers (right ventricle and right atrium) doesn't function properly. Tricuspid valve disease often occurs with other heart valve problems.

Several types of tricuspid valve disease exist, including:

  • Tricuspid valve regurgitation. In this condition, the tricuspid valve doesn't close properly and blood flows back into your heart's upper right chamber (right atrium).
  • Tricuspid valve stenosis. In this condition, the tricuspid valve is narrowed, decreasing the amount of blood that can flow through it from the right atrium to the right ventricle.
  • Tricuspid atresia. In tricuspid atresia, a condition present at birth (congenital heart disease), a solid wall of tissue blocks the blood flow between your right heart chambers.
  • Ebstein's anomaly. Ebstein's anomaly is a condition in which a malformed tricuspid valve sits lower than normal in the right ventricle, causing blood to flow back into the right atrium (tricuspid regurgitation).

Read more about tricuspid atresia and Ebstein's anomaly.

Mayo Clinic is one of the most experienced medical centers in the United States for tricuspid valve disease treatment. Doctors with training in heart disease (cardiologists), heart surgeons and other medical specialists coordinate your care. At Mayo Clinic, you may have access to ongoing clinical trials and new treatments for tricuspid valve disease.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for heart and heart surgery.

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At Mayo Clinic, doctors with training in heart disease (cardiologists) and other specialists work closely as a team to diagnose tricuspid valve disease.

Your cardiologist will discuss your symptoms, review your family medical history, conduct a physical examination and order several tests to diagnose tricuspid valve disease and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Chest X-ray. Using a chest X-ray, your doctor studies the size and shape of your heart and evaluates your lungs.
  • Echocardiogram (Doppler echocardiogram). In this test, sound waves produce detailed images of your heart. This test assesses the structure of your heart, the tricuspid valve and the blood flow through your heart. Your doctor also may order a 3-D echocardiogram.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). In this test, sensor patches with wires attached (electrodes) measure the electrical impulses given off by your heart. An ECG detects any abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Electrophysiology tests. Your doctor may conduct electrophysiology tests if you have an abnormal heart rhythm. In an electrophysiology test, a doctor inserts long, thin tubes (catheters) with sensors (electrodes) at the tips into an artery in your groin and threads them to your heart using X-ray imaging. The electrodes can precisely map the spread of electrical impulses through your heart.
  • Exercise tests or stress tests. Different exercise tests help measure your activity tolerance and monitor your heart's response to physical exertion. If you are unable to exercise, medications to mimic the effect of exercise on your heart may be used.
  • Holter monitor. A Holter monitor is a portable ECG device you wear for a day or more to record your heart's electrical activity during your daily routine.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of your heart.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram. In this test, your doctor inserts a tube with a tiny sound device (transducer) into the part of your digestive tract that runs from your throat to your stomach (esophagus). Because the esophagus lies close to your heart, the transducer provides a more detailed image of your heart. This test is sometimes done to look for other problems in the heart that might cause tricuspid regurgitation, such as a hole between the upper chambers (atrial septal defect).

Read more about chest X-ray, CT scan, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, stress test, Holter monitor and MRI.

At Mayo Clinic, doctors with training in heart disease (cardiologists), heart surgeons and other specialists treat people who have tricuspid valve disease. This team will work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your condition. Treatment depends on the severity of your condition.

Your treatment may include:

  • Careful monitoring. If you have moderate or severe tricuspid valve disease without symptoms, your doctor may recommend careful monitoring of your condition through periodic medical appointments. Mild tricuspid regurgitation is very common and often doesn't require any follow-up.
  • Medications. Medication can't correct tricuspid valve disease, but certain medications can minimize your symptoms by easing your heart's workload and regulating its rhythm.
  • Heart surgery. Mayo Clinic heart surgeons have extensive experience in all types of heart valve surgery. Surgeons often treat many heart conditions using minimally invasive heart surgery, including video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and robot-assisted surgery. Tricuspid valve disease rarely requires surgery.
  • Heart valve repair. Surgeons repair a heart valve rather than replace the valve when possible. Your surgeon may perform valve repair to separate fused valve flaps (leaflets), sew torn leaflets or reshape parts of the valve. Tricuspid regurgitation can often be treated by heart valve repair. Repair leaves you with your own normally functioning tissue, which is resistant to infection and doesn't require blood-thinning medication.
  • Heart valve replacement. If your tricuspid valve can't be repaired, your doctor must replace it with a biological or mechanical valve. People who have valves damaged by rheumatic disease or tricuspid stenosis require heart valve replacement.

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Specialists in cardiovascular diseases and cardiothoracic surgery treat adults who have tricuspid valve disease at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in cardiovascular diseases and cardiothoracic surgery treat adults who have tricuspid valve disease at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

The Heart Valve Disease Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota uses a team approach to diagnose and treat people who have heart valve disease. Doctors with training in heart valve disease work with heart rhythm specialists (electrophysiologists), heart surgeons and other specialists to coordinate your care. Mayo Clinic heart surgeons repair or replace more than 225 tricuspid heart valves each year.

Your examination, diagnosis and patient education usually can be completed within a day. If surgery is necessary, a cardiac surgeon meets with you to discuss your options. In many cases, surgery can be performed the following day.

For appointments or more information, call Cardiovascular Diseases at 507-284-3994 or Cardiovascular Surgery at 507-255-2000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form. No physician referral is necessary.

Specialists in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery treat children who have tricuspid valve disease at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Children needing hospitalization receive care at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic researchers actively study new diagnostic tests and treatments for people who have tricuspid valve disease and other types of heart valve disease. Learn more on the research website.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on tricuspid valve disease on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Nov. 20, 2012