What is tricuspid atresia?

What are the symptoms of tricuspid atresia in newborns?

Symptoms may include:

  • A blue tint to the skin, lips, or fingernails.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Sweating while feeding.
  • Not eating well.
  • Being fussy a lot of the time.

How is tricuspid atresia in newborns treated?

Your doctor will help you understand your baby's condition, your treatment choices, and what to expect from each choice.

Your baby may get medicine that helps keep oxygen-rich blood flowing to the body. It is often given through a blood vessel in the belly button.

Your baby will have surgery to help open the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. What the doctor does during surgery depends on how well blood is flowing through the heart and how small the right ventricle is. Your baby will be asleep during the surgery.

Your baby will probably need more than one surgery.

How is tricuspid atresia diagnosed in newborns?

Your doctor may hear abnormal heart sounds, such as a heart murmur, when examining your newborn.

Your doctor will order tests to find the cause of abnormal sounds or of symptoms. The most common test used to identify this problem is called an echocardiogram, or "echo" for short. It uses sound waves to make an image of your baby's heart.

Your baby may have other tests, such as an EKG (electrocardiogram), chest X-ray, and checking the amount of oxygen in the blood.

A fetal ultrasound, which lets your doctor see an image of your baby before birth, sometimes finds this problem.

How can you care for your newborn who has tricuspid atresia?

Your doctor will make sure that you have all the information you need to take care of your baby. Your child's care team can show you how to help your baby. You can also ask the hospital staff about counseling and support.

What is tricuspid atresia in newborns?

Tricuspid atresia (say "try-KUSS-pid uh-TREE-zhuh") is a type of congenital heart disease. Congenital heart disease refers to heart problems a baby is born with. These heart problems are usually diagnosed at or before birth.

The heart is a muscular pump with four chambers. The two top chambers are the left atrium and right atrium. The two bottom chambers are the left ventricle and the right ventricle. Normally, blood flows from the right atrium into the right ventricle. The tricuspid valve between these two chambers keeps the blood moving forward and prevents backflow.

"Atresia" means "not there." So in tricuspid atresia, the tricuspid valve isn't there. There is no opening. Blood does not flow through the heart as well as it should. The baby does not get enough oxygen.

The lack of this valve can also cause other problems. The right ventricle usually doesn't develop well and is too small. The aorta and the pulmonary artery—the two main blood vessels leading to and from the heart—may also be too small.

Most babies with this problem also have other heart problems, like an opening between the right and left sides of the heart.

Your baby may need special care, such as being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This may be scary for you. But the hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.

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