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While mild FTR is frequent and usually benign, patients with severe FTR may develop progressive ventricular dysfunction and incur increased mortality. Therefore, FTR should not be ignored, should be appropriately diagnosed and quantified by Doppler echocardiography, and should be evaluated for corrective surgical procedures. At present, referral for surgical correction of FTR is often delayed until patients develop intractable heart failure. However, this strategy frequently translates in poor clinical outcome characterized by notable operative mortality and reduced long-term survival. Appropriate patient selection and proper timing for tricuspid valve (TV) repair or replacement are crucial for optimal outcome, but objective criteria for clinical decison-making remain poorly defined. In the present paper, we review the anatomy of the normal TV, the pathophysiology of FTR, the assessment of its severity and functional significance, and propose an algorithm for selecting patients for surgical treatment.
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