Diseases and Conditions

Tricuspid atresia

Before birth

Because of advances in ultrasound technology, doctors can usually identify tricuspid atresia on a routine ultrasound exam during gestation.

After birth

Your baby's doctor might suspect a heart defect, such as tricuspid atresia, if your newborn has blue-tinged skin or is having trouble breathing.

Another indication is hearing a heart murmur, an abnormal whooshing sound caused by blood not flowing properly, when listening to your baby's heart during a physical exam.

If tricuspid atresia is suspected, your baby's doctor might order tests including:

  • Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves that bounce off your baby's heart to produce moving images the doctor can view on a video screen. In a baby with tricuspid atresia, the echocardiogram reveals the absence of a tricuspid valve, irregular blood flow and other heart defects.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This test records the electrical activity of the heart and can determine whether the heart's chambers are enlarged or the heart rhythm is abnormal.
  • Pulse oximetry. This measures the oxygen in your or your baby's blood using a sensor placed over the end of your or your baby's finger.
  • Chest X-ray. This might show whether the heart and its chambers are enlarged. It can also show whether there is too much or too little blood flow to the lungs.
  • Cardiac catheterization. A thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel at your child's groin and guided into the heart. Rarely used to diagnose tricuspid atresia, this test might be used to examine the heart before surgery to treat tricuspid atresia.