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Ebstein's Anomaly is a congenital heart defect that affects the tricuspid valve. This valve between the chambers on the right side of your heart doesn't work properly and allows blood to leak back between chambers thus making the heart work less efficiently. This problem can lead to enlargement of the heart or even heart failure requiring medical treatment and surgical intervention.
It is helpful to know how the heart works to supply your body with blood to understand Ebstein's Anomaly. The heart is made up of four chambers. The top two chambers are called the right and left atria and the lower two chambers are the right and left ventricles. The ventricles work to pump the blood. The separation between the atria and the ventricles contain valves which allow for the blood to flow in the right direction. Blood coming from you body returns through the right atrium, through the tricuspid valve and into the right ventricle which pumps it into your lungs to become oxygenated. The process is the reverse on the left side as oxygenated blood coming from the lungs enters the left atria, through the mitral valve and into the left ventricle which pumps it throughout your body.
In Ebstein's Anomaly, the tricuspid valve is further into the right ventricle than it would be in a normal heart which causes the right atrium to be larger than usual. Because of this, the right ventricle can not work properly. Additionally, the valve's leaflets are abnormally formed which allows for regurgitation of blood, or blood leaking back into the right atrium. There are other conditions that may be associated with Ebstein's Anomaly including atrial septal defect, abnormal heartbeats, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.