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Successful Surgical Treatment of Protein-Losing Enteropathy Complicating Rheumatic Tricuspid Regurgitation
journal contributionposted on 2008-02-01, 00:00 authored by Chin HiewChin Hiew, N Collins, A Foy, D Thomson, B Bastian
Protein-losing enteropathy may uncommonly complicate cardiac disease. While well described as a complication for patients having undergone previous Fontan surgery for congenital heart disease, pericardial and valvular aetiologies are much less frequent. We report a 35-year-old female presenting with marked hypoalbuminaemia and peripheral oedema on a background of known rheumatic valvular heart disease. After extensive investigation for gastrointestinal, hepatic and renal causes of protein loss, echocardiography demonstrated severe tricuspid valve incompetence. Subsequent invasive testing confirmed severe tricuspid valve regurgitation in the absence of pericardial constriction. The patient proceeded to tricuspid valve repair with resolution of the protein-losing state and correction of hypoalbuminaemia. While cardiac causes of gastrointestinal protein loss are uncommon, they should be considered when initial diagnostic work up is negative. The importance of correction of haemodynamic precipitants of protein-losing enteropathy is also discussed. © 2006 Australasian Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.