What is tricuspid valve regurgitation?
Tricuspid valve regurgitation, or tricuspid regurgitation, is a condition in which the valve between the two right heart chambers (right ventricle and right atrium) doesn’t close properly. This situation results in blood flowing back into your heart’s upper right chamber (right atrium).
Tricuspid valve regurgitation can be the result of a condition you’re born with (congenital heart disease), or it can occur due to valve abnormalities caused by other conditions.
If your condition is mild, you may not need treatment, and your condition may be monitored. However, if you have severe tricuspid valve regurgitation and you’re experiencing signs and symptoms, treatment may be necessary.
How common is tricuspid valve regurgitation?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of tricuspid valve regurgitation?
The common symptoms of tricuspid valve regurgitation are:
- Declining exercise capacity
- Swelling in your abdomen, legs or veins in your neck
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Pulsing in your neck
- An enlarged liver
- Shortness of breath with activity
Tricuspid valve regurgitation often doesn’t cause signs or symptoms until the condition is severe.
You may also experience signs or symptoms of the condition that is causing tricuspid valve regurgitation, such as pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, difficulty exercising and shortness of breath.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
Severe tricuspid valve regurgitation can result in heart failure. If you have signs or symptoms of heart failure — such as feeling easily fatigued or short of breath, even with normal activity — see your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a doctor trained in heart conditions (cardiologist).
What causes tricuspid valve regurgitation?
An increase in size of the right ventricle is the most common cause of this condition. The right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs where it picks up oxygen. Any condition that puts extra strain on this chamber can cause it to enlarge. Examples include:
- Abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs which can come from a lung problem (such as COPD, or a clots travelling to the lungs) or
- Other heart problem such as poor squeezing of the left side of the heart
- Problem with the opening or closing of another one of the heart valves
Tricuspid regurgitation may also be caused or worsened by infections, such as:
- Rheumatic fever
- Infection of the tricuspid heart valve, which causes damage to the valve
Less common causes of tricuspid regurgitation include:
- A type of heart defect present at birth called Ebstein anomaly.
- Carcinoid tumors, which release a hormone that damages the valve.
- Marfan syndrome.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Radiation therapy.
- Past use of a diet pill called “Fen-Phen” (phentermine and fenfluramine) or dexfenfluramine. The drug was removed from the market in 1997.
What increases my risk for tricuspid valve regurgitation?
There are many risk factors for tricuspid valve regurgitation, such as:
- Infections such as infective endocarditis or rheumatic fever. These infections can cause damage to the tricuspid valve.
- A heart attack. A heart attack can damage your heart and affect the right ventricle and function of the tricuspid valve.
- Heart failure. Heart failure can increase your risk of developing tricuspid valve regurgitation.
- Pulmonary hypertension. High blood pressure in the arteries in your lungs (pulmonary hypertension) can increase your risk of tricuspid valve regurgitation.
- Heart disease. Several forms of heart disease and heart valve disease may increase your risk of developing tricuspid valve regurgitation.
- Congenital heart disease. You may be born with a condition or heart defect that affects your tricuspid valve. Ebstein’s anomaly is the most common congenital heart disease.
- Use of certain medications. If you’ve used medications such as fenfluramine (no longer sold on the market), ergot alkaloid medications such as ergotamine (Cafergot, Migergot), and some medications used for restless legs syndrome and Parkinson’s disease, such as pergolide (no longer sold in the United States) or cabergoline, you may have an increased risk of tricuspid valve regurgitation.
- Chest radiation may damage the tricuspid valve and cause tricuspid valve regurgitation.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is tricuspid valve regurgitation diagnosed?
The health care provider may find abnormalities when gently pressing with the hand (palpating) on your chest. The provider may also feel a pulse over your liver. The physical exam may show liver and spleen swelling.
Listening to the heart with a stethoscope may reveal a murmur or other abnormal sounds. There may be signs of fluid buildup in the abdomen.
An ECG or echocardiogram may show enlargement of the right side of the heart. Doppler echocardiography or right-sided cardiac catheterization may be used to measure blood pressure inside the heart and lungs.
Other tests, such as CT scan or MRI of the chest (heart), may reveal enlargement of the right side of the heart and other changes.
How is tricuspid valve regurgitation treated?
Treatment may not be needed if there are few or no symptoms. You may need to go to the hospital to diagnose and treat severe symptoms.
Swelling and other symptoms of heart failure may be managed with medicines that help remove fluids from the body (diuretics).
Some people may be able to have surgery to repair or replace the tricuspid valve. Surgery is most often done as part of another procedure.
Treatment of certain conditions may correct this disorder. These include:
- High blood pressure in the lungs
- Swelling of the right lower heart chamber
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage tricuspid valve regurgitation?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with tricuspid valve regurgitation:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats, sugar, salt, and refined grains.
- Exercise can help improve your heart health. However, check with your doctor before you begin an exercise plan, especially if you’re interested in participating in competitive sports. The amount and type of exercise your doctor recommends for you may depend on your condition, if you have other heart valve conditions and if your condition is caused by other conditions.
- Prevent infective endocarditis. If you have had a heart valve replaced, your doctor may recommend you take antibiotics before dental procedures to prevent an infection called infective endocarditis. Check with your doctor to find out if he or she recommends that you take antibiotics before dental procedures.
- Discuss pregnancy. If you’re a woman with tricuspid valve regurgitation and you’re considering becoming pregnant, discuss family planning with your doctor prior to becoming pregnant. If you have severe tricuspid valve regurgitation, you’ll need to be monitored by a cardiologist and medical team experienced in treating women with heart valve conditions during pregnancy.
- See your doctor regularly. Establish a regular evaluation schedule with your cardiologist or primary care provider. Let your doctor know if you have any changes in your signs or symptoms.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: December 14, 2017 | Last Modified: December 9, 2019
Tricuspid valve regurgitation. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tricuspid-valve-regurgitation/symptoms-causes/syc-20350168. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Tricuspid regurgitation. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000169.htm. Accessed December 14, 2017.