Sonomicrometry-derived 3-dimensional geometry of the human tricuspid annulus

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2019 Apr;157(4):1452-1461.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2018.08.110. Epub 2018 Sep 27.


Objectives: Surgical correction of functional tricuspid regurgitation is focused on prosthetic reduction and remodeling of the tricuspid annulus. We set out to investigate the precise geometry of the human tricuspid annulus to better guide surgical therapy.

Methods: Eleven human donor hearts with normal right ventricular function and without tricuspid regurgitation that were rejected for clinical transplantation were harvested. Sonomicrometry crystals were sewn around the tricuspid annulus and pressure sensors placed in the right ventricle and right atrium. The hearts were studied in the TransMedics Organ Care System (Andover, Mass) ex vivo perfusion apparatus in the right heart working model. Data were acquired at baseline and before and after bolus calcium infusion. Annular height, dimensions, strain, and curvature were calculated based on 3-dimensional crystal coordinates.

Results: Maximal annular area was 997 ± 258 mm2 and minimal 902 ± 257 mm2 with contraction of 10% ± 5% at baseline and 19% ± 6% after calcium (P = .007). Segmental contractility of anterior, posterior, and septal annular regions was 7% ± 5%, 6% ± 4%, and 6% ± 3%, respectively. Only anterior region had increased contractility after calcium infusion (to 15% ± 5%; P = .023). Annulus had its high points at anteroseptal commissure and the midposterior region and lowest point in the midseptal region with maximal and minimal height of 5.0 ± 1.1 mm and 4.0 ± 1.1 mm, respectively. The greatest curvature responsible for out of plane annular bending was observed at annular high points.

Conclusions: The human tricuspid annulus is a complex 3-dimensional dynamic structure with its high points and maximal degree of bending at the anteroseptal commissure and midposterior annulus. These detailed geometric data may aid the design of more physiologic annular prostheses and surgical reparative techniques.

Keywords: sonomicrometry; strain; tricuspid annulus; tricuspid valve.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Echocardiography* / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Transducers, Pressure
  • Tricuspid Valve / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tricuspid Valve / physiology