Ebstein's anomaly

Ebstein's anomaly is a rare heart defect that's present at birth (congenital). In Ebstein's anomaly, your tricuspid valve — the valve between the chambers on the right side of your heart — doesn't work properly. Blood leaks back through the valve, making your heart work less efficiently. Ebstein's anomaly may also lead to enlargement of the heart or heart failure.

If you have no signs or symptoms associated with Ebstein's anomaly, careful monitoring of your heart may be all that's necessary. If signs and symptoms bother you, or if the heart is enlarging or becoming weaker, treatment for Ebstein's anomaly may be necessary. Treatment options include medications and surgery.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Mild forms of Ebstein's anomaly may not cause symptoms until later in adulthood. If signs and symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations or abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  • A bluish discoloration of the lips and skin caused by low oxygen (cyanosis)

When to see a doctor

If you or your child has signs or symptoms of heart failure — such as feeling easily fatigued or short of breath, even with normal activity — or is showing blue skin coloration around the lips and nails (cyanosis), talk to your doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in heart disease (cardiologist).

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