For babies with tricuspid atresia, your doctor will suggest some procedures and treatments right away to improve your baby’s blood flow. Other procedures may be done later, such as open-heart surgery to improve blood flow to the lungs.
Most babies can be helped with surgery.
Tricuspid Atresia Treatment Options
Your doctor may give your baby a drug (prostaglandin) to help keep the ductus arteriosus from closing and to help the blood circulate.
Your baby may need cardiac catheterization to enlarge the opening between their atria using a balloon.
Your baby will likely need several surgeries to improve their blood flow.
The exact procedures and timing depend on your child’s condition, including how severe it is and whether they have other heart defects, too. The surgeries may be done in stages during the first few years of life.
Babies with tricuspid atresia and ventricular septal defect (VSD) may get too much blood to their lungs. In this case, doctors may put a band around the pulmonary artery to limit blood flow to the lungs.
First your doctor may suggest surgery to connect your child’s pulmonary artery directly to a vessel that normally carries oxygen-poor blood into their heart. This means some of their oxygen-poor blood will go directly from their body to their pulmonary artery without going through their heart first. This surgery is called the bidirectional Glenn procedure and typically occurs when a baby is about 6 months old.
Later your child will need surgery to connect their pulmonary artery directly to the rest of the vessels that normally carry oxygen-poor blood into their heart. So all of their oxygen-poor blood will go directly from their body to their pulmonary artery without going through their heart first. This surgery is called the Fontan procedure and typically occurs when a child is larger than about 33 pounds.
Your child may need other surgeries based on their condition.
In some extreme cases, children with this condition need a heart transplant. The heart transplant team at Seattle Children’s performs numerous transplants each year for children with this or other heart problems that cannot be controlled using other treatments. Read more about our heart transplant program.