Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Ebstein’s anomaly is a rare heart defect. In a normal heart, the blood flows in from the body to the right atrium. It then goes into the right ventricle. Next, the blood travels to the lungs through the pulmonary valve. Here, it picks up fresh oxygen. The blood returns to the left atrium and goes into the left ventricle. The blood moves out to the rest of the body.
This defect occurs when the tricuspid valve develops lower than normal in the right ventricle. Also, the valve does not open and close normally. This allows blood to “leak” in the wrong direction. Ebstein’s anomaly can be mild to severe.
This is a congenital defect. This means that the heart forms incorrectly when the baby is developing in the womb. The baby is born with the condition. It is not known why the heart develops this way in some babies.
Specific risk factors for Ebstein’s anomaly are not clear. Two possible risk factors include:
Symptoms vary depending on how severe the defect is. In some cases, there may not be any symptoms. In other cases, symptoms may include:
During the exam, the doctor may detect a
These symptoms may be due to other conditions. If your child has any of these, talk to the doctor right away.
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Often, surgery is needed right away. Treatment options include:
The doctor may prescribe medicines to:
Depending on your child’s condition, the doctor may recommend:
Your child will have regular exams from a heart specialist. In some cases, your child may need antibiotics before some dental or medical procedures. This is to prevent infections.
There is no way to prevent this condition. Getting appropriate prenatal care is always important.
Ebstein’s Anomaly Foundation
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
American Heart Association. Ebstein’s anomaly. American Heart Association website. Available at:
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=11075. Accessed July 1, 2010.
American Heart Association. How your cardiologist diagnoses heart defects. American Heart Association website. Available at:
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=152. Updated June 2010. Accessed July 5, 2010.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Ebstein’s anomaly. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital website. Available at:
http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/heart-encyclopedia/anomalies/ebstein.htm. Updated July 2009. Accessed July 1, 2010.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Ebstein anomaly of the tricuspid valve. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated February 11, 2010. Accessed July 1, 2010.
Ebstein’s Society. Ebstein’s anomaly. Ebstein’s Society website. Available at:
http://www.ebsteins.org/?page_id=2. Accessed July 1, 2010.
Mayo Clinic. Atrioventricular canal defect. Mayo Clinic website. Available at:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/atrioventricular-canal-defect/DS00745/DSECTION=risk-factors. Updated June 3, 2010. Accessed July 7, 2010.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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