Tricuspid atresia is a form of congenital heart disease where the heart has an abnormally developed or missing tricuspid valve. In healthy individuals, blood flows into the heart's right atrium through the tricuspid valve, into the right ventricle, then from the right ventricle to the lungs for oxygen, and then into the left atrium. The oxygenated blood then flows into the left ventricle where it is pumped out of the heart and around the body. However, blood in tricuspid atresia patients flows into the right atrium and through a hole into the left atrium rather than through the tricuspid valve. Affected individuals receive some oxygenated blood through a hole between the right and left ventricles or via a ductus arteriosus connecting the pulmonary artery to the aorta. The oxygen-poor blood that never reaches the lungs mixes with oxygenated blood before being pumped throughout the body.
Treatment for tricuspid atresia involves a series of corrective surgical procedures. Learn more about this now.
Implant A Shunt
It may be necessary for a surgeon to implant a shunt or a bypass from the right subclavian artery or the first artery that branches off of the aorta to the pulmonary artery in infants with tricuspid atresia. This procedure is performed when the infant's oxygen levels urgently need to be brought up. A shunting procedure improves the infant's blood flow from the heart to the lungs. Once the shunt is in place, some of the blood that flows through the infant's aorta towards the rest of the body can pass through this new connection into the pulmonary artery. Once in the pulmonary artery, the blood will pick up oxygen from the lungs and then it returns to the heart. While this new mechanism helps the overall oxygen level circumstances, it does not stop some of the oxygen-poor blood from moving out of the right atrium and into the left atrium and combining with the oxygen-rich blood. This bypass is usually implanted during the first couple weeks of the baby's life. This shunt allows the infant to remain relatively stable for several months, but eventually, the infant will outgrow the shunt and require another surgical procedure to continue treatment.
Get the details on the next option for treating tricuspid atresia now.