JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Tricuspid valve surgery in adults with a dysfunctional systemic right ventricle: repair or replace?

Circulation 2009 March 25
BACKGROUND: In patients with a right ventricle (RV) in the systemic position, tricuspid valve surgery for regurgitation beyond adolescence is a subject of debate. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the complications, survival, and benefit of tricuspid surgery in adult patients with an atrium-level correction for transposition of the great arteries or congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries.

METHODS AND RESULTS: All adult patients (n=16; 7 men, 9 women; age 35+/-11 years) who underwent tricuspid valvuloplasty (n=8) or replacement (n=8) in the period 1999 to 2008 were included. Complications and survival were analyzed, and postoperative changes in RV function and functional class were evaluated. Tricuspid regurgitation was graded 1 to 4 according to its severity, RV dysfunction was graded as 1 to 4 (1=no dysfunction to 4=severe dysfunction), and functional status was determined according to New York Heart Association class. Although complications occurred in 11 patients, all could be managed adequately. Three patients died 109, 180, and 659 days after surgery, respectively, the first patient after tricuspid valve replacement and the latter 2 after tricuspid valvuloplasty. Overall, tricuspid valve function improved (from grade 3.1+/-0.8 to 0.9+/-1.0; P=0.001) and functional class improved (from 2.7+/-0.6 to 2.1+/-0.8; P=0.007), whereas RV function remained unchanged. After tricuspid valvuloplasty, however, recurrent moderate tricuspid valve regurgitation was observed frequently (n=3; 37%).

CONCLUSIONS: Mortality is rather low after tricuspid surgery in adult patients with mild to moderate RV dysfunction. In general, tricuspid valve function and functional class improve significantly after surgery, and systemic RV function is preserved. Tricuspid valvuloplasty, however, is associated with a high rate of recurrence of regurgitation.

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