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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
--David Harrild, MD, assistant in Cardiology
If your infant or child has been diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries (TGA), an understanding of the condition will help you to cope with this rare and complex congenital (present at birth) heart defect. While very serious, TGA is treatable surgically at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the outlook for the vast majority of babies with this cardiac defect is excellent.
This discussion refers to a heart defect known as “d-transposition of the great arteries” (“d-TGA,” “transposition,” “TGA”). Another type—“l-transposition” (“l-TGA,” “corrected transposition”)—is similar in some ways to d-TGA, but very different in others, and requires a different treatment program from what’s described here.
In TGA, the “great” arteries are reversed in their origins from the heart, with the aorta connected to the right ventricle, and the pulmonary artery connected to the left ventricle—exactly the opposite of the normal heart’s anatomy.
With these arteries reversed, oxygen-poor (blue) blood returns to the right atrium from the body, passes into the right ventricle, then goes into the aorta and back to the body. And oxygen-rich (red) blood returns to the left atrium from the lungs and passes into the left ventricle, which pumps it back to the lungs—the opposite of the way blood normally circulates. The oxygen-poor (blue) blood cannot meet the body’s demands, and this situation cannot support life.
Our team in Boston Children’s Cardiac Surgery Department understands how distressing a diagnosis of TGA can be for parents. You can have peace of mind knowing that our surgeons treat some of the most complex pediatric heart conditions in the world, with overall success rates approaching 98 percent—among the highest in the nation among large pediatric cardiac centers. We use the following elements to provide the best possible outcomes:
Transposition of the great arteries: Reviewed by David Harrild, MD
© Boston Children's Hospital, 2010
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