The tricuspid valve controls blood flow between the heart’s right upper chamber (atrium) and right lower chamber (ventricle). Three flaps on the outside of the valve ensure correct blood flow and direction. When these flaps do not function correctly, the heart must work harder to keep blood flowing efficiently throughout the body. Over time, this can lead to heart failure, stroke, or heart attack. Most commonly, the flaps are stiff—for instance, due to calcium deposits or scarring—and do not open completely (stenosis). In some cases, the flaps do not close completely, allowing blood to leak backwards (regurgitation).
If possible, the cardiovascular surgeon will repair the valve by repositioning, reshaping, supporting, or otherwise fixing the valve tissue or connecting structures. In severe conditions, the valve may need to be replaced with a new mechanical or donor-tissue valve.
Temple offers several tricuspid valve procedures—many of which can be performed using minimally invasive techniques—including:
To support the tricuspid valve and make sure it seals correctly, the surgeon sews a synthetic ring into the base of the valve, often via minimally invasive approaches.
The surgeon widens the tricuspid valve by separating flaps that have thickened or fused together.
The surgeon removes calcium deposits that restrict the tricuspid valve from opening, closing, or otherwise functioning properly.
Tricuspid Balloon Valvuloplasty/Balloon Valvotomy
The surgeon guides a catheter into the heart and inflates a balloon at its tip in order to open the valve, remedying mild stenosis.
Tricuspid Prolapse Repair
In patients with tricuspid regurgitation, the surgeon removes overlapping parts of the flaps to create a better seal. An annuloplasty ring may also be sewn in to support the base of the valve.
Tricuspid Valve Replacement
A surgeon can explain the benefits and risks of the different options for tricuspid valve replacement, which include mechanical and tissue valves (from pig, cow, or human donor).
Temple cardiovascular specialists are highly experienced in performing minimally invasive and traditional open procedures to repair or replace the tricuspid valve, even in patients who may have other heart or medical conditions that complicate their situation. In some cases, a hybrid procedure can be performed to fix more than one heart problem at once. Temple specialists work with patients to make sure they are aware of the tradeoffs of various treatment options, consulting with specialists across Temple and incorporating knowledge of the latest innovations in valve repair and replacement into their recommendations.