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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Tricuspid Valve Disease

The tricuspid valve lies within the heart, separating the right atrium and ventricle allowing forward blood flow and preventing backward flow through the right side of the heart. Tricuspid valve disease usually presents itself when the valve becomes incompetent and blood flows backward when it should be flowing forward to the lungs. This problem leads to failure of the right ventricle now working harder to maintain forward flow. Swelling of the legs and within the liver ensues. The most common cause of right ventricular failure and tricuspid valve insufficiency is left-sided or left ventricular failure leading to a backup of pressure through the lungs to the right side of the heart. Repairing the tricuspid valve in these situations can be very beneficial for patients.


The team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at the Center for Heart Valve Disease collaborate to carefully determine the character of tricuspid valve disease in patients with symptoms of right heart failure. Using 2- and 3-dimensional echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, the physicians can very accurately evaluate the extent and nature of tricuspid valve disease. Once a clear diagnosis is made, the team together determines whether medical or surgical management is optimal given the particular factors of each individual patient.

When surgery is deemed the best treatment for a patient, whether it is isolated or coexistent with other cardiac or valvular disease, our specialized valve surgeons, Patrick McCarthy, MD and Edwin McGee, MD, usually are able to repair the tricuspid valve. Several innovations of valve repair surgery have been introduced by the surgeons at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. In particular, Dr. McCarthy designed the specialized 3-dimensional tricuspid valve annuloplasty ring, the MC3 annuloplasty ring. This ring has become the favored prosthetic ring used to repair the tricuspid valve at many centers around the world. It is through innovations like this one that our surgeons are able to provide state-of-the-art cardiac surgery to the Chicagoland area and beyond.

Patients are also closely followed by a heart valve coordinator who is available to answer questions and assist patients and referring cardiologists.


For information regarding tricuspid valve disease and the treatments available, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 1-866-662-8467 or request a first time appointment online.

Last UpdateDecember 18, 2013