Tricuspid valve disease is a condition in which the valve between the two right heart chambers, called the right ventricle and right atrium, does not function properly or is damaged. This condition often occurs with other heart valve problems. The tricuspid valve has three flaps that control the direction and flow of blood. There are several types of tricuspid valve disease, including tricuspid valve regurgitation, in which the tricuspid valve does not close properly and blood flows back into the heart’s upper right chamber; tricuspid valve stenosis, in which the tricuspid valve is narrowed; tricuspid atresia, a condition present at birth in which a wall of tissue blocks blood flow between right heart chambers; and Ebstein’s anomaly, which is a malformed tricuspid valve that sits lower than normal in the right ventricle, causing blood to flow back into the right atrium. Rheumatic fever is the most common cause of tricuspid valve disease, but other causes include coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and trauma to the heart. Depending on the severity of the condition, surgery may be required. Otherwise, medications are used to control symptoms associated with the disease.
The UAB Structural Heart & Valve Program is the oldest and largest program of its kind in Alabama. It provides ongoing care – sometimes for life – to patients who have or are at risk for structural heart and valve disease. Our experienced surgeons and cardiologists take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating this condition, and their expertise ranges from traditional open-heart surgery to robotic-assisted valve repair and the latest in minimally invasive surgical techniques, which require only small incisions (cuts).
The UAB Structural Heart & Valve Clinic has achieved several important milestones in the past decade. In 2012, we performed the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in Alabama, and UAB has performed more TAVR procedures than any other hospital in the state. As an added service, patients who have been told by non-UAB doctors that they need valve surgery can speak to a UAB structural heart and valve surgeon for a second opinion.
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