Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) is a complex heart condition that affects how blood moves through a baby’s heart. It’s a type of congenital heart condition, which means it’s a condition a baby is born with.
The great arteries are the aorta and the pulmonary artery. Normally, the aorta is connected to the left ventricle and pumps out blood to the body. The pulmonary artery is normally connected to the right ventricle and pumps blood to the lungs for oxygen. These two arteries in a baby with TGA are connected to the opposite ventricle. This means that blood without enough oxygen is being sent to the body while blood with oxygen is sent back to the lungs.
Some babies with TGA also have other heart defects, such as holes between the upper or lower chambers of the heart. These holes may allow more blood with oxygen to get out to the baby’s body, but it is not enough oxygen to survive without surgery.
In some cases, transposition of the great arteries is found before birth during an ultrasound or fetal echocardiogram.
When a baby is born with TGA, they usually have symptoms shortly after birth. Symptoms may include:
Experts do know what causes TGA. The condition develops early in pregnancy when the heart is formed.
The treatment for TGA may depend on your baby’s specific heart anatomy. Most babies with TGA need some type of treatment to improve their oxygen levels shortly after birth. Your care team at Arkansas Children’s is experienced in treating TGA and will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options may include:
After surgery, babies with TGA will need to have follow-up visits with a cardiologist (a heart doctor) into adulthood. As they grow, some children may need additional treatments or surgeries.