If you are new to the term ‘Tricuspid Regurgitation’, which is shortly called as TR, it would be a great idea to get an understanding about the anatomy of the human heart.
Anatomy of heart:
The human heart is divided into four sections known as chambers. The upper chambers are called as left atria and right atria, while the lower chambers are called as left ventricle and right ventricle. The right and left sides of the heart are separated by a wall of muscle called as ‘septum’. These chambers in the heart are linked and there are openings called as ‘valves’ that are responsible for regulating the flow of blood both in and out of the heart and in between the chambers. You can imagine the valves as water faucets as they can either open up permitting flow of blood freely or they can also close stopping the entire flow of blood.
There is a valve known as tricuspid valve in the heart that separates the right atrium and right ventricle. When this valve does not properly close, it will lead to the issue called as Tricuspid Regurgitation. When this happens, the blood will begin to flow back up into the right atrium when the right ventricle contracts. When this continues, the heart will become weak. This condition is otherwise termed as ‘tricuspid valve insufficiency’.
What are the causes of TR?
Dilation of right ventricle:
The most common condition contributing towards TR is the dilation of right ventricle. The lower right hand chamber, which is called as the right ventricle is responsible for pumping the blood from heart to lungs. When the right ventricle will have to work extra hard in this task of pumping the blood to the lungs, it can become larger and this is called as dilation. This in turn will cause the ring of the tricuspid valve to dilate as well. This ring tissue is generally responsible for supporting the ability of tricuspid valve to open and close.
In the case of infection, the tricuspid valve can be directly injured, thereby leading to TR. Infective endocarditis is the most common of these infections.
Use of diet medication:
This is another cause of TR as the diet medications like fenfluramine and phentermine are known to cause the insufficiency of tricuspid valve.
The other rare causes of Tricuspid Regurgitation are:
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Rheumatic fever
• Marfan syndrome
• Myxomatous degeneration
• Tricuspid valve prolapsed
• Ebstein’s anomaly
• Birth defects of the valve
• Systemic lupus
• Carcinoid tumors
• Some injuries
How to recognize the symptoms of TR?
Generally, this condition may not cause any recognizable signs initially. However, patients with high blood pressure and pulmonary hypertension are more likely to experience some symptoms like those mentioned below:
• Swelling in abdomen
• Reduction in the output of urine
• Swelling in ankle and foot
• General weakness
• An irregular rhythm of the heart
• Swelling in different parts of the body
• Pulsing sensation in the vein in neck and
• Unexplained fatigue
When diagnosing this condition, after listening to the heart beat, the doctor might prescribe a chest X-ray or related tests to identify TR.