Posts Tagged ‘Tricuspia Atresia’

A Cure for the Funky Heart?!?!

December 10, 2009

I’ve got Google Alerts searching for the appearance of certain Heart Defect words and phrases across the internet, and they deliver new information to my computer every night. The information is new to me, but not always new.

So imagine my surprise when I read this report from a 1981 edition of the Scandinavian Cardiovascular Journal. Obviously, the internet didn’t exist in 1981 (or exist in the form that we know today) so this couldn’t have been put on line then; apparently another organization recently uploaded it – and Google Alerts “hit” on the phrase Tricuspid Atresia.

In eight patients from 1976 until 1980, tricuspid atresia (TA) was corrected with valved xenograft conduits…


This is unreal – in this trial, eight patients with Tricuspid Atresia were given a conduit that ran from the Right Atrium to the Pulmonary Artery, or a conduit that connected the Right Atrium to the Right Ventricle and “jumped” the missing Tricuspid Valve. This is the first time I have heard of this… but it sounds as if it might work.

All patients suffered from transient right-heart failure postoperatively and eventually developed normalized cardiac function throughout the first two months after operation.

Holy cow, it did work! All eight went through a passing phase of right side heart failure that quickly stabilized, and in two months their hearts began to function normally!

X-ray examination showed normalization of the heart size in the majority of the patients, and in those with conduits between the right atrium and the right ventricle a considerable enlargement of the right ventricular chamber together with normalization of right ventricular contractility had developed. Arterial oxygen saturation, haemoglobin and haematocrit values had normalized in all patients.

“Normalization” is a word I like to read – especially when pertaining to Heart Defect, and for damn sure when it’s MY defect! There was one adverse outcome – one patient died of “intractable right ventricular failure, septicaemia and intravascular coagulation” – in layman’s terms,  there was blood poisoning, runaway blood clotting and the Right Ventricle failed for an undetermined reason.

Two patients with valved conduits between the right atrium and the right ventricle showed a normal unrestricted level of activity without medication, while patients with valved conduits between the right atrium and the main pulmonary artery were digitalized with an almost normal level of activity. Early repair with valved conduits of patients with TA is advocated.

But despite the success of this very limited trial, I can not find any information about followup trials. Today’s Tricuspid Atresia patients do not have this treatment option. Which begs the question:

What happened?

The obvious answer to why this isn’t being used today is “Something went wrong.” – but what? I’d certainly like to know. With 2009 technology, this trial could very well be worth repeating.