Children's Hospital Colorado

Tricuspid Atresia

What is tricuspid atresia?

Tricuspid atresia is a heart defect present at birth marked by a complete absence of the tricuspid valve.

With tricuspid atresia, there is solid tissue where the tricuspid valve should be. There is no connection between the top and bottom chambers on the right side of the heart, preventing blood flow. Blood in the right atrium cannot directly enter the right ventricle and must pass through a hole in the atrial septum (atrial septal defect) to enter the left atrium and then the left ventricle. Poor blood flow into the right ventricle often causes underdevelopment of that pumping chamber.

How is tricuspid atresia diagnosed?

Tricuspid atresia can be identified prior to birth with a fetal echocardiogram. Delivery of a baby with tricuspid atresia is recommended at a hospital that is prepared for high-risk deliveries with neonatal intensive care, pediatric cardiology and pediatric cardiothoracic surgery services.

Treatment for tricuspid atresia

Depending on their stability and blood flow patterns, babies with tricuspid atresia require heart surgery in the first few days to months of life to correct the heart defect.

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