Share this page

Health Library

Tricuspid Atresia—Child(Single Ventricle Defect—Child)
Definition

Tricuspid atresia is an abnormal development of the right side of the heart. It includes a missing valve between the upper and lower chamber and a smaller than normal lower chamber. Tricuspid atresia can make it difficult for your heart to efficiently pump blood to the lungs to get oxygen. Some may also have holes in the wall between the left and right side of the heart. The holes allow oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix.

Heart Chambers and Valves

heart anatomy

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Blood Flow Through the Heart


Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Tricuspid atresia develops when the baby is in the womb. It is not known exactly why some hearts develop this way.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk for congenital heart defects like tricuspid atresia include:

  • Family history of congenital heart defect
  • Chromosomal disorder such as Down syndrome
  • Previous pregnancy with fetal heart abnormalities or miscarriage
  • Conditions during pregnancy, such as:
    • Being infected with a virus
    • Having poorly controlled diabetes
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Taking certain medicines
Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Blue or pale grayish skin color
  • Fast breathing
  • Sweating
  • Poor feeding/poor weight gain
  • Fatigue
Diagnosis

Tricuspid atresia may be diagnosed before birth.

After birth, the doctor may suspect a tricuspid atresia if the baby has a blue-ish color and a heart murmur is detected during a physical exam.

To confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the heart defects, your doctor may order imaging tests such as:

Treatment

Treatment is important to prevent severe complications such as heart failure . Treatments may include:

Medication

Medication may be given to:

  • Improve the levels of oxygen in the blood.
  • Manage the level of fluids in the body to decrease workload on the heart.

Oxygen may also be given to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Surgery

Surgery is often needed right away. Follow-up surgeries may also be needed at ages 3-6 months and 2-5 years.

The goal of surgery is to:

  • Improve blood flow within the heart
  • Restore connections between the heart, lungs, and body

The exact surgery will depend on the type and severity of defects that are present. For example, a shunt may be placed to increase blood flow to the lungs. Later a series of surgeries will be done to reroute blood flow through the heart, lungs and body.

Lifelong Monitoring

Your child will have regular exams from a heart specialist. Your child may also need antibiotics before certain medical or dental procedures to prevent a heart infection.

Prevention

Preventing fetal heart defects may not always be possible. Good prenatal care may reduce some type of congenital heart defects. Prenatal care includes:

  • Visit the doctor regularly to monitor your health and the health of the baby.
  • Eat nutritious food and take prenatal vitamins
  • Do not drink alcohol, smoke , or use drugs during pregnancy
  • Practicing good hygiene and staying away from people who are sick.

RESOURCES:

American Family Physician
http://www.aafp.org/

American Heart Association
http://www.americanheart.org/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Cardiovascular Society
http://www.ccs.ca/

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca/

References:

Tricuspid atresia. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site508/mainpageS508P0.html . Accessed June 21, 2013.

Tricuspid atresia. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: http://www.chop.edu/service/cardiac-center/heart-conditions/tricuspid-atresia.html . Updated May 2013. Accessed June 21, 2013.

Tricuspid atresia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated March 29, 2013. Accessed June 21, 2013.



Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Baptist Flame

Healthcare Quality and Accreditations

Find A Doctor

Services

Locations

Baptist Medical Clinic

Patients & Visitors

Learn

Contact Us

Physician Tools

Careers at Baptist

Employee Links

Online Services

At Baptist Health Systems

At Baptist Medical Center

close ×