tricuspid atresia

Tricuspid atresia

Cite this article as:
Marc Anders. Tricuspid atresia, Don't Forget the Bubbles, 2013. Available at:

Definition: complete obstruction RA → RV (muscular TA, membranous, valvular TA and Ebstein’s anomaly) with presence of PFO/ASD, VSD, and increased mitral valve annulus, leading to hypertrophic LV and hypoplastic RV.


Depends on the position of great arteries and the VSD physiology:

60% normal great arteries with restrictive VSD and pulmonary stenosis or atresia causes decreased PBF and cyanosis (PBF depending on VSD and PDA)

10% normal great arteries with unrestrictive VSD causes increased PBF and CCF

30% with D-TGA (10% with pulmonary stenosis or atresia, 20% without pulmonary stenosis)


ECG (left axis, LVH, P tricuspidale), ECHO, angiography.

Management preoperatively:

With decreased PBF:

  • PGE1 infusion (20 ng/kg/min) to maintain PDA patency
  • BAS or blade septostomy in older children if ASD restrictive
  • Intubation and ventilation, hence lowering PVR
  • Aim for SpO2 75 – 85%

With increased PBF:

  • Anticongestive treatment
  • Aim for SpO2 75-85%

Preoperative preparation:

ECG, CXR, CUS, FBE, clotting, UECs, PRBC (4), FFP (2), platelets (2), cryoprecipitate (2).

Methylprednisolone 10mg/kg 12 hrs and 6 hrs pre surgery in neonates.


Dependent on anatomical associations and PBF:

With decreased PBF: BT-Shunt or a modified BT Shunt in newborns

With increased PBF: PA banding (careful in subaortic obstruction!) or Damus-Kaye-Stansel (end-to-side anastomosis PA to the ascending aorta) for patients with LVOTO; in older children: bidirectional Glenn shunt or total-cavopulmonary connection (Fontan).

Postoperative management for tricuspid atresia:

Postoperative management for TA and PA banding:

  • Commence morphine sedation, paralyse with cisatracurium for 12 hrs until pulmonary and systemic blood flow have balanced
  • Respiratory: SpO2 75 – 85%, may need some time to settle pulmonary blood flow and achieve stable saturations
  • Inotropes: usually not required
  • Haemodynamics: SBP >60 mmHg, MAP >40 mmHg, increasing over time, LAP 8-12 mmHg, CVP 8-12 mmHg
  • Fluid restriction: 3 ml/kg/hr, early feeds if stable
  • Haemostasis

Specific problems:

  • Persistent low SpO2 indicate a too tight PA band (differential diagnosis: hypovolaemia, low CO)
  • Persistent high SpO2 indicate a too loose band → child is growing into it; manipulate Qp:Qs by pH (acidosis), pO2 (decrease FiO2), pCO2 (mild hypercapnoea), systemic vasodilators (SNP)


  • Depends on the underlying lesion; average PICU stay: 2 days


[1] Critical Heart Disease in Infants and Children; 2nd ed, Nichols et al: Tricuspid Atresia

[2] Surg Gynecol Obstet 1952;95:213: Muller et al: The treatment of certain congenital malformations of the heart by the creation of pulmonic stenosis to reduce pulmonary hypertension and excessive pulmonary blood flow: a preliminary report

All Marc’s PICU cardiology FOAM can be found on PICU Doctor and can be downloaded as a handy app for free on iPhone or AndroidA list of contributors can be seen here.

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About Marc Anders

Marc Anders is a paediatric intensivist.

Author: Marc Anders Marc Anders is a paediatric intensivist.

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