At present, limited data are available regarding functional tricuspid regurgitation (TR) in adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD). Functional TR is the consequence of right ventricular (RV) dilation or dysfunction that, in these patients, is typically associated with chronic RV volume overloading. The study aim was to resolve this problem by evaluating results obtained from patients after surgical treatment of ACHD. METHODS: A total of 65 patients (mean age 46 years) with ACHD underwent an operation to correct functional TR during elective cardiac surgery between January 2000 and December 2008 at the authors' institution. The preoperative median NYHA functional class was 3, and the median TR grade was 3. Surgical treatment of the primary cardiac lesion included atrial septal defect (ASD) closure in 40 patients and pulmonary valve implantation in 25. Functional TR was treated by annuloplasty (n = 48), rigid tricuspid valve ring (n = 14), or tricuspid valve replacement (n = 3). RESULTS: There were no in-hospital deaths. The median TR grade at discharge was 0. During a mean follow up period of 63 months (range: 12-96 months) there was one delayed death that was not cardiac-related. Both, the NYHA functional class (p = 0.001) and TR grade (p = 0.001) were significantly improved among survivors. One patient (1.5%) had tricuspid valve replacement at five years after annuloplasty. No significant differences regarding annuloplasty versus rigid tricuspid valve ring were noted during the follow up period. CONCLUSION: Functional TR is an emerging, though as yet still underestimated, problem in ACHD. It is a consequence of RV dilation/dysfunction that, in these patients, is typically related to chronic RV volume overloading. Surgery should be considered to resolve this problem, and can be performed at low risk and with good mid-term results.
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