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Tricuspid Valve Disease

(Tricuspid Regurgitation; Tricuspid Stenosis)



Tricuspid valve disease is damage to a valve in the heart. This valve sits between the upper and lower chambers on the right side of the heart. It helps to control the flow of blood from the body to the lungs. This valve has 3 flaps that control the direction and flow of blood.

The two main types of tricuspid valve disease are:

  • Tricuspid stenosis—narrowing of the tricuspid valve
  • Tricuspid regurgitation—flaps do not close tightly and let blood flow backward

Anatomy of the Heart

Nucleus factsheet image

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Causes    TOP

The valve may not develop properly in some. They are born with the defect, known as congenital heart problems. I

Others may be caused by injury or disease such as:


Risk Factors    TOP

Having had rheumatic fever may increase the chance of tricuspid valve disease.


Symptoms    TOP

In many cases, there are no symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue, especially during physical activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal fullness
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen
  • Changes in skin color

Diagnosis    TOP

You will be asked about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may hear a murmur while listening to the heart.

Image tests may be done if the doctor suspects a valve problems. Tests that may help to show the heart and valves include::

The heart's electrical activity may need to be checked. This can be done with EKG.

A cardiac stress test may also be done. It will show how the heart works under physical work.


Treatment    TOP

Treatment will depend on how severe the damage is. Mild disease may not need immediate treatment. The care team will carefully watch for any changes. Sever changes and symptoms will need treatment. Options may include:


Medicine may help to treat symptoms. Options include:

  • Diuretics—to control fluid build up
  • Vasodilators—to open blood vessels and ease blood pressure


Surgery may be needed for severe symptoms. The valve may be repaired or replaced.


Prevention    TOP

Tricuspid valve disease itself cannot be prevented. Strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever. Treating the infection early may lower your risk of complications.


American Heart Association

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Canadian Cardiovascular Society

The College of Family Physicians of Canada


Antibiotic prophylaxis for heart patients. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed December 31, 2018.

Diseases of the tricuspid valve. Texas Heart Institute website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated July 2015. Accessed December 31, 2018.

Tricuspid valve disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905712/Tricuspid-valve-disease. Updated September 20, 2018. Accessed December 31, 2018.

Last reviewed June 2018 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 12/31/2018

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