Why Choose Penn Medicine
If your tricuspid valve disease is severe, your valve may need to be surgically replaced or repaired. Penn’s cardiac surgeons use the most advanced open-chest and minimally invasive procedures to replace or repair tricuspid valves. We are the largest Heart Valve Disease Program in the greater Philadelphia region, and complete more valve surgeries than any other Pennsylvania hospital.
To preserve your heart’s function and lower the risk of infection, our expert surgeons repair your tricuspid valve whenever possible.
Tricuspid Valve Surgery Overview
At Penn, we treat both tricuspid regurgitation and stenosis (narrowed valve) through surgery, often while operating on another heart condition. Our cardiac surgeons repair and replace tricuspid valves using either open-chest surgery or minimally invasive surgery. Whenever possible, we use robotic surgery for these procedures. Your cardiac team determines the right type of surgery for you based on your heart structure, additional heart conditions, age and general health.
Tricuspid Valve Surgery Procedure Details
Cardiac surgery at Penn takes place in state-of-the-art operating rooms. An expert cardiac anesthesiologist administers general anesthesia to keep you comfortable. During your cardiac surgery, your surgeon:
- Uses a heart-lung bypass machine to keep your blood pumping through your body during the procedure.
- Makes several smaller incisions in your chest (for minimally invasive surgery) or one longer incision in the right part of your chest near the breastbone (for traditional, open-chest surgery).
- Repairs or replaces your damaged tricuspid valve. They can also correct other heart conditions at the same time if you are undergoing complex tricuspid valve surgery.
- Removes you from the bypass machine, ensures your heart is functioning correctly and closes your incision.
Tricuspid Valve Repair
When possible, our cardiac surgeons will surgically repair your tricuspid valve. Minimally invasive surgery, including robotic surgery, is a surgical option for tricuspid repair. Depending on your diagnosis, your repair may include:
- Ring annuloplasty: To correct tricuspid regurgitation, the surgeon tightens the valve by sewing a ring (made of metal, cloth or tissue) around it.
- Commissurotomy: By separating or cutting fused valve flaps (called cusps or leaflets), the surgeon opens a narrowed (stenotic) valve.
- Valve flap repair: The surgeon corrects your tricuspid valve flaps by trimming, patching or reshaping them so that they close tightly.
Tricuspid Valve Replacement
Your doctor may recommend surgery to replace your tricuspid valve if repair is not an option. During either minimally invasive or open-chest surgery, your surgeon removes the diseased pulmonary valve and replaces it with either:
- Mechanical valve: This man-made valve can last as long as 30 years. You will need to take lifelong blood-thinning medications to prevent blood clots with a mechanical valve.
- Biological valve: This type of valve (made from cow, pig or human heart tissue) lasts 10 to 20 years.
Cardiac Rehabilitation After Heart Valve Surgery
Your recovery time depends on whether you had minimally invasive or open-chest surgery. After minimally invasive surgery, you’ll return to daily activities more quickly. Following any type of heart surgery, your doctor may recommend cardiac rehabilitation. Our outpatient program provides post-surgery support through exercise plans, nutrition guidance and heart health education.