Tricuspid Regurgitation

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Tricuspid regurgitation is heart condition that occurs when the valve between the two right heart chambers doesn’t close properly. This prevents the blood from flowing to other parts of the body and instead causes it to flow back into the right chamber of the heart. Mild conditions may not require treatment, but severe conditions can cause serious symptoms and require treatment.

Risk Factors for Tricuspid Regurgitation

There are certain factors that can increase a person’s chances of developing tricuspid regurgitation. These things may not cause the condition but can make it more likely or more severe. Some common risk factors include:

  • Infections such as infective endocarditis or rheumatic fever
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Certain medications damaging the valves
  • Radiation

Causes of Tricuspid Regurgitation

Tricuspid regurgitation can be caused by a number of different things. The most common cause is a congenital defect. Enlargement of the lower right heart chamber can also cause this condition. There are certain health conditions that can also lead to the enlargement of the lower right chamber of the heart and cause or aggravate the condition. Those conditions include:

Symptoms of Tricuspid Regurgitation

Tricuspid regurgitation may not have any symptoms. Most people do not know they have it and only seek treatment when the condition becomes severe and symptoms do appear. In mild cases, there may be no symptoms at all. The symptoms that are common with the disease are often associated with other illnesses and health problems. The symptoms of the disease include:

  • Fatigue
  • Declining exercise capacity
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Pulsing in the neck
  • Shortness of breath with activity


Diagnosis of Tricuspid Regurgitation

Since tricuspid regurgitation often has no symptoms, it can sometimes be hard to diagnose. In many cases, doctors diagnose the disease while doing a routine exam or trying to diagnose a different health problem. If symptoms are present and doctors believe tricuspid regurgitation may be the reason, they will perform several diagnostic tests to confirm it. Some of the most common diagnostic tests used include:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Exercise tests or stress tests
  • Cardiac catheterization

Treatment for Tricuspid Regurgitation

Treatment of the disease of often depends on the cause and severity. Doctors focus on treating the symptoms of the disease and preventing complications. Doctors may also treat underlying causes of the condition to help relieve the symptoms. The most common treatments include:

  • Medication
  • Monitoring
  • Heart valve repair surgery
  • Heart catheter
  • Cone procedure
  • Heart valve replacement surgery
  • Maze procedure
  • Catheter ablation
  • Healthy diet
  • Exercise


Prognosis of Tricuspid Regurgitation

If treated properly, most people with tricuspid regurgitation are able to live normal lives. People who suffer from severe forms of the disease may face more serious problems and may be in need of more aggressive treatment and surgery. In cases where the cause of the disease is another heart condition, that condition will have to be treated separately before a clear prognosis can be given.

Complications of Tricuspid Regurgitation

Complications are often related to the underlying cause of the problem and can vary based on the severity of the condition. Doctors work to prevent complications or reduce the risk of them. Some common complications of tricuspid regurgitation include:

  • Heart failure
  • Heart murmurs
  • Infections
  • Swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Heart valve problems