Transposition of the great vessels

Alternative Names

Transposition of the great arteries; TGA; d-TGA

Definition of Transposition of the great vessels

Transposition of the great vessels is a congenital heart defect in which the two major vessels that carry blood away from the heart — the aorta and the pulmonary artery — are switched (transposed).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause of most congenital heart defects is unknown.

Signs and tests

The health care provider may detect a heart murmur while listening to the chest with a stethoscope. The baby’s mouth and skin will be a blue color.

Treatment

The baby will immediately receive a medicine called prostaglandin through an IV (intravenous line). This medicine helps keep the ductus arteriosus open, allowing some mixing of the two blood circulations.

Expectations (prognosis)

The child’s symptoms will improve after surgery to correct the defect. Most infants who undergo arterial switch do not have symptoms after surgery and live normal lives. If corrective surgery is not performed, the life expectancy is months.

Review

Kurt R. Schumacher, MD, Pediatric Cardiology, University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center, Ann Arbor, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/21/2009

Heart, section through the middle
Heart, front view
Transposition of the great vessels

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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