Valvular reconstruction or replacement surgery is sometimes needed to treat congenital or acquired defects of the heart valves or valvular disease. Before surgery, patients undergo diagnostic cardiac catheterizations and transesophageal echocardiograms by their cardiologists and then are referred to Dr. Garrett or Dr. Rhee.
Like the mitral valve, the tricuspid valve also plays an important role in maintaining blood flow in the heart. When the body has used up the oxygen in the blood, it is brought back to the right side of the heart. The tricuspid valve allows this venous blood to flow into the right ventricle chamber of heart that pumps the blood into the lungs to replenish with oxygen. Patients with tricuspid valve disease typically present with fatigue, abdominal swelling, or leg swelling.
Repair is needed when the tricuspid valve has regurgitation or damage caused by aging, infection, or disease. The surgery is similar to mitral valve repair surgery, and is often done in association with another type of cardiac surgery. The tricuspid valve is usually repaired with an annuloplasty ring which reconstructs the framework of the valve.
After valve replacement or repair surgery, patients are moved to the Intensive Care Unit. Patients are then transferred to the CVT Step Down unit for recovery, where they remain for three to four days after surgery. At the time of discharge, patients can walk normally and maintain a regular diet. A follow-up visit in the office is scheduled a week after discharge.