Objective: To evaluate the intrauterine course and outcome of tricuspid atresia detected in the fetus.
Methods: This was a retrospective review of all confirmed cases of tricuspid atresia detected prenatally between 1998 and 2006 in three tertiary referral centers in Germany.
Results: Fifty-four cases of tricuspid atresia were detected prenatally during the study period and confirmed postnatally: 28 (51.9%) cases had a concordant ventriculoarterial connection of which 14 also had pulmonary outflow obstruction; 25 (46.3%) cases had a discordant ventriculoarterial connection of which 14 also had aortic outflow obstruction, six had pulmonary outflow tract obstruction and two had other associated intracardiac anomalies; and one (1.9%) had a common arterial trunk. The peak velocity index for veins in the ductus venosus was significantly elevated in 19 of the 37 (51.4%) cases assessed; however, this finding did not correlate with adverse intrauterine outcome. There were associated extracardiac anomalies in 12 cases: five with chromosomal anomalies, two with VACTERL association, one with unilateral renal agenesis, one with hypospadia, one with hydrothorax, one with megacystis and one with agenesis of the ductus venosus. Seventeen of the 54 (31.5%) cases underwent termination of pregnancy, two (3.7%) died in utero, two (3.7%) died in infancy and 33 (61.1%) children survived with a median follow-up of 26 (range, 12-120) months. Prenatal echocardiography correctly anticipated the postnatal course and the need for neonatal intervention in 29/35 (82.9%) continued pregnancies; in the remaining six (17.1%) cases the right outflow tract obstruction had been underestimated.
Conclusions: Tricuspid atresia and the frequently associated intracardiac anomalies can be diagnosed in the fetus with considerable accuracy. A thorough search for extracardiac malformations should be performed in order to rule out chromosomal anomalies and multiple malformation syndromes. Elevated pulsatility in the ductus venosus does not indicate cardiac failure. The short-term overall survival in continued pregnancies in our study exceeded 89%, with the greatest rate of loss being in the first year of postnatal life.