skip to main content

Main Site Navigation

Top of main content

What Is Tricuspid Stenosis?

The tricuspid valve is between the right atrium (a top chamber) and right ventricle (a bottom chamber) in the heart. Stenosis is a narrowing of the valve opening. The valve opens when the atrium contracts to let blood into the ventricle. It closes when the ventricle contracts to stop blood flow back to the atrium. A narrow opening means that blood doesn’t flow easily. The atrium works harder, so it gets bigger, and becomes less effective in moving blood to the right ventricle.

What Causes Tricuspid Stenosis?

Tricuspid stenosis is almost always related to rheumatic heart disease (from infection with streptococcal bacteria). It’s usually found with mitral and aortic valve problems. Tricuspid valve damage may rarely be congenital (present at birth).

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Tricuspid Stenosis?

People with mild tricuspid stenosis may have no symptoms. Symptoms usually start after several years. They include swelling in the feet, legs, or abdomen (belly) and breathing problems, especially when lying down. Other symptoms are uneven heartbeat, coughing up blood, chest pain, and fatigue.

How Is Tricuspid Stenosis Diagnosed?

The health care provider makes a preliminary diagnosis from the medical history and physical examination. Blood moving abnormally through valves makes an abnormal sound called a murmur. Its timing in the heart’s cycle and location help tell which valve is affected. Additional tests to diagnose tricuspid stenosis may include an echocardiography, chest X-rays, and electrocardiography (ECG). Echocardiography is an ultrasound examination of the heart. ECG shows changes in the electrical system of the heart such as abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

How Is Tricuspid Stenosis Treated?

Treatment varies depending on severity, age, and overall health. Treatment of mild conditions tries to prevent complications. Salt and fluid restriction is important to prevent swelling (edema) of the arms and legs. Some people with irregular heart beat known as atrial fibrillation take anticoagulant medicine to prevent blood clots. For heart failure, diuretics lower blood fluid volume so the heart doesn’t work as hard. Vasodilator medicines may be used when heart failure gets worse. Treatment options in some people may include having the valve stretched with a catheter (tube). The catheter has an attached balloon that is inflated in the valve and stretches it (balloon valvuloplasty). Severe tricuspid stenosis may require valve replacement.

DOs and DON’Ts in Managing Tricuspid Stenosis:

  • DO take your medicines as prescribed.
  • DO limit your intake of fluids and salt.
  • DO exercise as much as you can under the guidance of your physician.
  • DO call your health care provider if you have side effects from your medicines. Call if you have new or worsening symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, rapid heartbeat, or swelling in the legs or abdomen. Call if you’re taking anticoagulants and have a cut that doesn’t stop bleeding or have a head injury.
  • DON’T over exert yourself. If easy exercise is getting hard, rest until you see your health care provider.
  • DON’T stop taking your medicine or change the dosage because you feel better unless your health care provider tells you to.
FOR MORE INFORMATION

Contact the following source:

  • American Heart Association
    Tel: (800) 242-8721
    Website: www.americanheart.org
  • American College of Cardiology
    Tel: (800) 253-4636 Fax: (301) 897-9745
    Website: http://www.acc.org

Copyright © 2016 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc.

Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor