What is Ebstein’s Anomaly of the Tricuspid Valve?
Ebstein’s Anomaly is an extremely rare heart defect, with its incidence estimated at between 1 in 82,000 and 1 in 214,000 people. The reason why we don’t understand how many people have this condition is because those who have it in its mildest form often remain undiagnosed for long periods of time, and some for all of their lives.
In the heart the tricuspid valve separates the right atrium and right ventricle. Its purpose is to control the flow of blood between these two chambers. It allows blood to flow from the right atrium into the ventricle, but not back again. As the ventricle contracts blood is then forced out of the heart through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. In Ebstein’s anomaly the three ‘leaflets’ that make up the tricuspid valve are not formed properly which causes blood to leak back through the valve, which results in the heart working less efficiently than it would do otherwise.
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