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What Is a Tricuspid Valve Repair?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Tricuspid valve repair is a surgical procedure that may be used when the tricuspid valve of the heart does not function properly. The traditional method for this type of procedure involves open heart surgery, although less invasive procedures may be appropriate for some situations. A synthetic ring may be placed around the valve to make it stronger, or if some of the tissue has become fused together, it may be surgically separated during the tricuspid valve repair procedure. Most repairs last for 10 years or more before needing to be repeated, although some procedures are not successful and require additional surgery to replace the damaged valve. Questions or concerns about tricuspid valve repair and its associated benefits or risks should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

There are several medical conditions and situations that may cause the tricuspid valve to fail to open and close improperly, including rheumatoid arthritis, radiation therapy, and rheumatic fever. Some of the symptoms that may develop when this heart valve is no longer functioning the way it should include fatigue, abdominal swelling, and a decrease in the amount of urine produced by the body. This type of valve failure is referred to as tricuspid valve regurgitation and often requires surgical intervention designed to repair the dysfunctional valve.

Open heart surgery has traditionally been the preferred method of tricuspid valve repair, requiring a large incision and the use of a heart-lung machine to keep the patient alive during the procedure. Less invasive options are now available in some situations, allowing for a faster recovery and fewer complications. Excessive bleeding, infection, and valve failure are potential risks of tricuspid valve repair surgery. A synthetic ring is usually used to surround the defective valve, thus strengthening the valve and preserving the proper shape and function so that blood flows properly. In some cases, tissue fibers that have become fused together may be separated as part of the repair process.

Most tricuspid valve repair surgeries are successful and may not need to be repeated for 10 years or more. In cases where the procedure does not provide the desired results, the valve is often replaced completely. Signs of a failed tricuspid valve repair are essentially the same as the original symptoms leading to the surgery. Medical issues such as congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, or rheumatic fever may significantly affect the overall success of the procedure.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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