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Pediatric Tricuspid Atresia

What is Pediatric Tricuspid Atresia?

Tricuspid atresia is a congenital (present at birth) heart defect where the tricuspid valve that controls the flow of oxygen-poor blood back into the heart never formed during development. In a healthy heart, blood is pumped to the lungs to pick up oxygen. It is then sent out to the rest of the body and back again to start the process over.

In tricuspid atresia, the tricuspid valve isn't formed, and blood flows through another opening that would normally close during development or shortly after birth. This causes oxygen-poor and oxygen-rich blood to mix and return to the body without completing the normal circulation process. This means less oxygen overall is delivered to the body.

Blood Flow in a Healthy Heart

blood flow of a healthy heart with tricuspid valve highlighted

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Tricuspid Atresia?

Symptoms usually occur in the first few hours of life, but can appear within days.

  • Cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin, fingernails and mouth due to lack of oxygen)
  • Fast breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Poor eating habits
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart murmur (irregular heartbeat)