The word "atresia" means "no opening." In tricuspid atresia, the valve is missing between the upper-right chamber (the right atrium) and the lower-right chamber (the right ventricle).
Normally, the tricuspid valve allows blood to pass from the right atrium to the right ventricle. The right ventricle then pumps blood into the lungs to pick up oxygen before it flows back into the left side of the heart. But with tricuspid atresia, blood cannot reach the lungs or the left side of the heart unless other defects are present. Defects that often happen along with tricuspid atresia include
These defects usually allow some of the blood to flow through the lungs, but oxygen-poor blood still gets pumped into the body along with the oxygen-rich blood. The oxygen-poor blood makes the fingers, toes, and lips appear blue. This condition is called cyanosis.
How is it treated?
The goal of treatment is to improve blood flow to the lungs by making the blood flow route as normal as possible. Because the type of surgery used to correct the defect may vary, the child's surgeon will advise the best method.
See also on this site: Congenital Heart Disease
See on other sites:
American Heart Association
Single Ventricle Defects
Texas Adult Congenital Heart Center (TACH) program
www.baylorclinic.com/services-specialties/cardiologytach/index.cfm enables patients with congenital heart disease to receive a seamless continuation of care from birth to old age.
Updated August 2012