Tricuspid valve stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the opening in the valve. When this occurs, there is an increased resistance to blood flow through the valve. Situated between the right atrium and the right ventricle of the heart, the tricuspid valve is the largest of the four valves in the heart. When the tricuspid valve is narrowed or stiffened, it decreases the amount of blood that can flow through it. This decrease raises the pressure in the right atrium, causing the atrium to enlarge. It also causes the right ventricle to atrophy and shrink, lowering the cardiac output. Tricuspid valve stenosis is usually caused by rheumatic heart disease, although it is occasionally due to a congenital condition.
Tricuspid valve stenosis itself usually doesn't require treatment. However, if there is damage to other valves in the heart as well, then surgical repair or replacement must be considered. The treatment is usually by surgery (tricuspid valve replacement) or percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty. The resultant tricuspid regurgitation from percutaneous treatment is better tolerated than insufficiency occurring during mitral valvuloplasty.