One of the four valves that controls blood flow through the heart, the tricuspid valve separates the right atrium from the right ventricle, but it can become damaged or diseased, resulting in improper direction of blood flow. When this happens, the heart must work harder to send blood to the lungs and rest of the body.
Tricuspid valve repair and tricuspid valve replacement are surgical options to help improve blood flow and reduce any symptoms related to heart valve disease. Without treating a damaged tricuspid valve, the risk of complications, such as heart failure is increased.
Receiving Tricuspid Valve Surgery at Georgia Heart Institute
Repair or reconstruction is the first choice to treat a diseased or damaged heart valve. Compared to replacement, tricuspid valve repair can help preserve overall heart function in the long term. The tricuspid valve can be repaired with open valve surgery or minimally invasive surgery.
Open tricuspid valve surgery
With open heart valve surgery, the chest is opened through an incision along the sternum/breastbone. This process, known as a sternotomy, provides the surgeon with clear and direct access to the heart and heart valves. A heart-lung machine will likely be used to oxygenate and circulate blood throughout the body while the heart is stopped during surgery. To determine if you are a candidate for open valve surgery, the surgeon will consider your overall health, medical history, and the degree of damage or disease in the valve, along with other factors.
Robotic tricuspid valve surgery
With robotic tricuspid valve surgery, the surgeon will make two small incisions to access the chest and heart. A specialized video scope is inserted in one incision to provide images of the diseased valve, and the other opening is used to repair the valve. This minimally invasive option is completed without moving or distorting the heart, so it stays in its natural state as much as possible. Patients with severe valve damage, multiple damaged valves, severe clogged arteries or those who have had previous cardiothoracic surgeries may not be good candidate for robotic valve surgery.
What to expect after your procedure
Following your procedure, you will be taken to Georgia Heart Institute’s cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), the Ronnie Green Heart Center. This state-of-the-art recovery center is staffed with a dedicated team of specialists who will monitor your vitals and readings to ensure you’re recovering well and staying healthy.
To support breathing during the early stages of recovery, you will likely be on a ventilator. This allows the body to heal, but you will eventually transition to self-sustained breathing. You may notice chest discomfort or soreness, which is completely normal after surgery.
Continuing your stay at the CVICU, you will receive medications, therapies and assistance that support your recovery. You will also receive care in the Cardiac Care Unit and from the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation team to ensure you’re progressing through each stage of post-surgical recovery.
Why Choose Georgia Heart Institute?
Georgia Heart Institute is the state’s most forward-thinking heart and vascular program providing tricuspid valve repair and replacement surgery and other types of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. Unlike other heart and vascular programs, our specialized team has years of experience providing minimally invasive valve procedures. The surgeons and cardiologists at Georgia Heart Institute are pleased to provide patients with the highest quality of care by offering the latest and most effective treatment options along with our state-of-the-art cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), the Ronnie Green Heart Center.
Connect with our program
Referrals are required for surgical services, but our knowledgeable team is always happy to answer your questions and provide next steps. Call 770-219-7099 to discuss your surgery with our team.
If you are a clinician who needs to refer a patient for cardiothoracic surgery, please contact our program directly at 770-219-7099. Our program coordinator can answer any questions you have and help schedule your patient to see one of our board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons.