Tricuspid valve repair may be done when a tricuspid valve leaflet is floppy and prolapses. The tricuspid valve repair procedure uses a device called an annuloplasty ring. Annuloplasty is a surgical technique performed on the valve's annulus, which is the ring of tissue that supports the valve leaflets. An annuloplasty ring is used in tricuspid valve repair in order to downsize an abnormally enlarged tricuspid valve so that the leaflets can close properly. A tricuspid valve repair still involves major cardiac surgery but for many patients presents the major advantage of avoiding blood thinners and may provide a more durable result. Over the last ten years, tricuspid valve repair has become increasingly common and has dramatically reduced both the need for extensive anticoagulation therapy and the occurrence of post-operative complications.
How Tricuspid Valve Repair Works
The preferred treatment for patients with tricuspid valve disease is repair of their tricuspid valve. Tricuspid valve repair requires special expertise, but the advantages of tricuspid valve repair for the patient are quite significant, including: improved life expectancy, better preservation of native heart function, and avoidance of long-term anticoagulation (use of blood thinners).
Various techniques are employed to achieve successful tricuspid valve repair. An annuloplasty ring can be used in the reconstruction of the tricuspid valve, this ring will reinforce the annulus in order to allow the leaflets of the tricuspiud valve to close properly.
Purse-string sutures are sewn around the annuloplasty ring in order to make the opening of the tricuspid valve smaller which helps the leaflets meet when the tricuspid valve is closed. Implanting an annuloplasty ring can help to downsize an enlarged valve opening so that the leaflets of the tricuspid valve can come together properly. Annuloplasty rings are specifically designed to help restore the annulus of the tricuspid valve to its normal size and shape.
Advantages of Tricuspid Valve Repair
Clear advantages of tricuspid valve repair compared to replacement include:
A lower mortality at the time of operation
A significantly lower risk of stroke, and a lower rate of infection
Improved long-term survival with tricuspid valve repair
Patients who receive a tricuspid valve repair are less likely to need a pace maker than if the valve was replaced
After tricuspid valve repair, blood thinners are not required, in contrast to the life-long requirement for blood thinners after mechanical tricuspid valve replacement
Ask your doctor about tricuspid valve repair or replacement surgery. Both procedures are commonly used and highly effective in treating tricuspid valve conditions. You may even be able to stop taking certain medications after a tricuspid vale repair or replacement surgery.
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