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Secondary tricuspid valve regurgitation: a forgotten entity
  1. Pilar Tornos Mas1,
  2. José F Rodríguez-Palomares2,
  3. Manuel J Antunes3
  4. Curriculum topic: Valvular heart diseases
  1. 1Servicio de Cardiología, Hospital Universitario Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Institut de Recerca (VHIR), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Centro de Cirurgia Cardiotorácica, Hospital da Universidade e Faculdade de Medicina, Coimbra, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Professor Manuel J Antunes, Centro de Cirurgia Cardiotorácica, Hospitais da Universidade, Coimbra 3000-075, Portugal; antunes.cct.chuc{at}

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Learning objectives

  • Impact and pathophysiology of secondary tricuspid regurgitation (TR).

  • Role of imaging techniques in the assessment and follow-up of TR and of RV function.

  • Surgical indications, methods and techniques.


The tricuspid valve was virtually ignored for a long time in the past. However, the incidence of tricuspid insufficiency associated with left valvular disease is quite significant, ranging from 8% to 35% of cases.1 ,2 This is most common in conjunction with mitral valve disease but association with aortic valve pathology is not uncommon. It is most frequently related to rheumatic valve disease and much rarer in association with degenerative mitral valve disease. In most cases, the tricuspid regurgitation (TR) is so-called ‘functional’, corresponding to dilatation of the annulus, as a consequence of RV dilatation secondary to pulmonary hypertension. In 15–20% of cases, however, the injury can be organic, generally of rheumatic origin, but for the purposes of this work we will restrict our analysis to secondary (terminology now preferred over functional) TR.

Originally, it was thought that in most patients with secondary TR, surgical treatment of the mitral valve disease would correct the problems of the right side and, hence, a conservative (no touch) approach to the tricuspid valve was recommended.3 ,4

More recently, however, it has become evident that in a significant number of cases secondary TR does not regress after appropriate correction of the left-side valvulopathy. Thus, the indications for surgery of the TR have moved towards a progressively more interventional attitude. Today, it is evident that we must intervene on the tricuspid valve in cases of obviously severe tricuspid insufficiency and in cases where perioperative detection of a more significant TR than expected is made, especially when triggered by increasing load conditions.5 ,6

In this work, we intend to review the current …

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