Key Points about Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation (Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency)
- Tricuspid valve regurgitation is a leaky tricuspid valve caused by another health condition or infection.
- Diagnosis of tricuspid valve regurgitation is made with a physical exam, imaging tests and stress test.
- Treatment for this condition may include ongoing monitoring, medications or surgical procedures.
The tricuspid valve, located between your right ventricle and your right atrium, are the two heart chambers located on the right-hand side of your body. Tricuspid valve regurgitation occurs when that valve doesn’t close correctly. Due to this, blood flows back into the right atrium.
Tricuspid valve regurgitation causes
Several health conditions can cause tricuspid valve regurgitation, including:
- Carcinoid syndrome
- Ebstein’s anomaly
- Infective endocarditis
- Marfan syndrome
- Rheumatic fever
This condition can also be caused by:
- Blunt chest trauma
- Having undergone an endomyocardial biopsy
- Issues with the wires of implantable devices, such as pacemakers
Tricuspid valve regurgitation risk factors
Factors that can increase your risk for developing tricuspid valve regurgitation are:
- Certain medications, including fenfluramine or Parkinson’s disease medicine
- Congenital (present at birth) heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart disease
- Heart failure
- Infection, such as rheumatic fever or infective endocarditis
- Pulmonary hypertension
Tricuspid valve regurgitation symptoms
If your tricuspid valve regurgitation is mild, you may not experience any symptoms. When signs and symptoms are present, they may include:
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Pulsing in your neck
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity
- Swelling in the legs, abdomen or veins in the neck
Tricuspid valve regurgitation diagnosis
Your cardiologist may use one or more of the following tests to diagnose this condition:
- Complete physical exam. Your doctor will perform a comprehensive physical exam, including asking you questions about your personal and family health history.
- Imaging tests. Your doctor may order imaging tests – such as an echocardiogram, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electrocardiogram (ECG) or chest X-ray – to obtain detailed images of your heart and valves.
- Stress test. Your doctor may order a stress test – or exercise test – to check how your heart functions while you’re doing physical activity.
Tricuspid valve regurgitation treatment
If you are diagnosed with tricuspid valve regurgitation, treatment may include:
- Medication management. Your cardiologist may prescribe medications to help treat underlying issues and manage the complications of tricuspid valve regurgitation, such as diuretics (water pills) or medicine that help control heart rhythm.
- Ongoing monitoring. If your condition is mild and not causing any complications, your cardiologist may recommend watchful monitoring through regular office visits.
- Surgical procedure. If your tricuspid valve regurgitation is severe and cannot be controlled with medication, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure to repair or replace the valve. The replacement valve may be biologic (made from animal or human material) or mechanical (made from surgical plastic or metal).
When to seek care
If you experience any of these symptoms, start by voicing your concerns and symptoms to your primary care provider. From there, your doctor may suggest seeing a cardiologist for more specialized treatment.