(Single Ventricle Defect—Child)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Tricuspid atresia is when the tricuspid valve that controls blood flow between the right upper and right lower chamber is missing. This makes it hard for the heart to pump blood to the lungs to get oxygen. There may also be a hole between the left and right side of the heart that causes oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix. A child may also have a smaller than normal right lower chamber and abnormalities of the pulmonary artery and aorta.
This problem is caused by a congenital defect. This means that the problem develops in the womb and a baby is born with it. It is not known exactly why this happens.
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Problems may be:
This problem is often diagnosed before birth.
In others, the doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the heart. A heart murmur may be detected.
Images may be taken of your body's body. This can be done with:
Your child's heart function may be tested. This can be done with:
The goal of treatment is to restore normal blood flow and to prevent severe problems. Supportive care, such as oxygen and nutrition therapy, will be needed.
Treatment may include medicines to:
Surgery will be done right away. The surgery chosen depends on a child's symptoms and heart defects. More than one surgery may be needed. The goal of surgery is to:
Lifelong heart monitoring will also be needed.
There are no known guidelines to prevent this heart problem.
American Heart Association
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Rao PS. Consensus on timing of intervention for common congenital heart diseases: part II - cyanotic heart defects. Indian J Pediatr. 2013 Aug;80(8):663-674.
Tricuspid atresia. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/t/tricuspid-atresia. Accessed March 11, 2021.
Tricuspid atresia. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at:
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Accessed March 11, 2021.
Tricuspid atresia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/tricuspid-atresia . Accessed March 11, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 3/11/2021
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