What Is Tricuspid Valve Disease?
The tricuspid valve lies within the heart, separating the right atrium and ventricle. It allows forward blood flow and prevents backward flow through the right side of the heart. The tricuspid valve is referred to as a semilunar valve because it has three cusps that are shaped like half moons.
There are two main diseases or malfunctions of heart valves: regurgitation (valve does not close tightly) and stenosis (valve does not open fully). Regurgitation and stenosis disrupt the heart cycle because when the heart valves fail to open and close properly, there is improper blood flow through the heart.
Tricuspid valve disease is usually diagnosed 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, which has to work harder to maintain forward flow. Symptoms may include swelling of the legs and/or abdominal swelling. Surgical or procedural repair of the tricuspid valve may be necessary for those with severe disease.