Ebstein's anomaly

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Learn about Ebstein's anomaly in children. This condition can result in heart failure or cyanosis, but it can also resolve itself without treatment.

Key points

  • Children with this condition can experience cyanosis, congestive heart failure, and a heart murmur.
  • Some children with Ebstein's anomaly improve without treatment, while others need drugs or surgery.

In Ebstein’s anomaly, the tricuspid valve is in the right ventricle, instead of between the right atrium and right ventricle where it should be. As a result, the right atrium gets stretched and gets bigger, while the right ventricle is smaller than usual.

Children with Ebstein's anomaly often have an atrial septal defect as well. This lets blood flow from the right to the left atrium.

What are the symptoms of Ebstein’s anomaly?

Sometimes children with this condition experience cyanosis and/or congestive heart failure. A heart murmur is also a symptom of this condition. Chest X-rays, an electrocardiogram, and echocardiogram help to confirm the diagnosis.

How is Ebstein’s anomaly treated?

Some children improve without the need for treatment. Others need drugs to manage abnormal heart rhythms or congestive heart failure, while others need surgery to replace or repair the tricuspid valve and close the atrial septal defect. Sometimes closure of the ASD can be done through cardiac catheterization.

Treatment for children with this condition significantly improves the function of the heart.

Last updated: December 4th 2009