About the disease
Tricuspid valve disease is the abnormal function of the tricuspid heart valve. There are four main valves in the human heart: aortic, mitral, palmonary and tricuspid. The tricuspid valve is located between the upper right heart chamber and the bottom chamber. The tricuspid valve mainly regulates the blood flow and is responsible for normal blood circulation. There are two causes of tricuspid valve disease. The first one occures if the valve is too leaky and blood goes not further, but backwards. Tricuspid valve diseases rarely occur solely and of their accord. They usually appear in combination with dysfunctions of other valves, that are interconnected with each other.
Diseases of tricuspid valves include the valve incompetence, the valve difficiency, the valve stenosis and the valve regurgitation. In some cases the person with the tricuspid valve disease experiences the dysplasia of the heart valve, when the valves do not develop and function properly. Usually the dysplasia is inborm and is characteristic for both humans and animals.
The tricuspid disease causes are:
- Heart pathology
- Aortic valve disease which affected tricuspid valve
- Long-term neglected hypertension
- Atrial fibrillation
Another common cause is the rheumatic fervor. It is also called the rheumatic heart disease meaning that the inflammation process, which originated from a throat infection, reached the heart. This fever can attack not only heart, but also brain, skin and ligaments.
Tricuspid valve disease has usually the same symptoms as atrial fibrillation or arythmia. They include extremely rapid heartbeat(more than 250 beats per minute), uneasy feeling in the chest, difficulty breathing and pain in the neck. The patients tire quickly and feel exhaustion even if they do not engage in any work. Many of them complain of a constantly cold skin, which does not warm even during the hot weather. Sometimes their hands are so frozen that they feel a strong trepidation and fever with their body temperature being perfectly normal.
- Tricuspid valve disease is usually diagnosed during the simple check-up at the cardiologist. Every heart has its own specific murmur that the doctor can hear in the process of such procedure. It may be explained by the excessive blood flow from one valve to another. This murmur reminds by its sound the river`s flow, which does not stop for a second. The more progressed is the tricuspid valve disease, the more loud is the murmur in the heart.
- Another simple diagnosis option is the calculation of the pulse beats, which can be performed by the patient even at home. Usually in case of the tricuspid valve disease the pulse is best heard in the area of the neck, when the patient can feel a very strong pulsation in the vein right behind his ear. The liver also becomes somewhat enlarged and the abdomen boosts in its size. Most people think that the reason for the abdominal enlargement is indigestion or obesity, while in reality the cause for all the unpleasant feelings is the heart.
- More serious diagnosis methods include the electrocardiography,. This is the device, which examines the heart on a deeper level. More modern and precise method of examination is the echocardiography, which is nowadays may be performed in every large hospital.
Before the surgeon or cardiologist chooses the option treatment, he observes the patient for a certain period of time. For instance, the heart`s condition may improve over some time by itself or it may deteriorate in the retrospect. Furthermore, the heart rhythm of the person who has heart disease changes every week and in some cases every day. To understand the progression of the valve`s work, the doctor needs to regularly observe the patient for at least one month, until he can make a solid conclusion about the exact treatment of tricuspid valve, that would help. Sometimes he can even decide that the patient does not need any treatment, aprt from the usual drugs and medicines, that regulate the heartbeat and help the blood circulate efficiently. in other cases, the surgical intervention is unavoidable, because the person has trouble breathing and feels weak all the time, as the blood flow does not reach the neck and the brain properly.
- The best surgical decision for this disease would be endovascular tricuspid valve repair or traditional tricuspid valve repair (open-heart procedure). They both repair the damaged valve by inserting the special ring which would normalize the work of the valve or by replacing it with the new one. The main difference is that the first option is less invasive and performed with few incisions, while during open-heart procedure a surgeons makes one big incision.
- Valvuloplasty is effective, but can be applied only in certain cases, during the valvuloplasty the surgeon widens the heart valve with the catheter and regulates the blood circulation through this valve. the catheter also stretches the valve, so that the blood flow can go freely up to the neck and further to the brain. The valvuloplasty is performed during the open operation of the heart. it means that the patient receives the general anesthesia.
- Sometimes the surgeons may perform the replacement of the valve which is usually done if the usual methods of surgery can not be applied. The problem with the valve replacement is that it is very difficult to find the actual donor, whose valve would function properly in the body of the patients. Many of them wait for years until the right donor is found. If the donor can not be found, the surgeons may use the animal valve, but this kind of replacement is more risky than if that was done with the human valve. Recently the medical world invented the mechanical valve, which can be implemented immediately after the diagnosis. The only complication is that the long-term results of the mechanical valve usage are still unknown. The mechanical replacement is performed only of the condition of the patient is critical and his life is under the threat.
After the treatment, many patients are advised to undergo the endocarditis prevention therapy. This therapy is done precautiously so that the patient would not contract the infection, called endocarditis. Endocarditis damages the heart valves. It becomes even more ferocious after the patient undergoes the valve treatment and surgery. Usually endocarditis originates in the teeth of the patient, so if the patient was diagnosed with tricuspid valve disease, he should also be examined by the dentist to prevent any teeth troubles. In order to do that the patient needs to take exceptional care after his gums, lead a healthy diet and stop smoking if he still does so. If the patient does contradicts the infection, he is feverish, cold and his throat becomes severely sore. When this happens, the patient needs to see both cardiologist and dentist immediately.