Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)

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Classified as complex congenital heart disease, d-transposition of the great arteries (d-TGA), occurs when the two main arteries directing blood flow away from the heart are switched in position as a baby is developing.


This change impairs blood flow, and these babies often need catheterization at birth and heart surgery soon after birth.


Most adults with d-TGA have already had surgery to restore proper blood flow. But, even with successful repair, these individuals need to be seen by a congenital heart disease specialist at least once a year in case complications arise over time.


Our Approach to Treating Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)

As an adult with d-TGA, you’ll need ongoing, specialized care to ensure you stay healthy and able to do the things you love — and our d-TGA experts can help.
Using noninvasive diagnostic tools, our congenital heart disease specialists will routinely evaluate your condition, adjusting your medications or treatment plan if needed.


If complications do arise, interventional cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons in our Adult Congenital Heart Program rank among the most respected experts in the world for many of the catheter-based procedures and open-heart surgical techniques needed to restore proper blood flow or heart rhythm.


About Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)

What Is D-Transposition of the Great Arteries? (D-TGA)

A structurally correct heart carries blood in a specific direction. Oxygen-poor blood from your body enters the right side of your heart and the pulmonary artery directs this blood to your lungs, where the blood becomes oxygenated. Once oxygenated, blood is brought to the left side of your heart and this oxygenated blood is distributed throughout your body via your aorta.


With d-TGA, the pulmonary artery and aorta are switched in position (or transposed), interrupting proper blood flow and resulting in oxygen-poor blood being delivered to the body and oxygen-rich blood stuck circulating between only your lungs and heart.


Most adults with d-TGA have had a surgery to either redirect the blood flow coming to the heart (atrial switch, also known as a “Mustard” or “Senning” procedure), or switch the vessels coming out of the heart (arterial switch). In addition, some patients may have had a ventricular septal defect repair.


After surgery, however, adults with d-TGA are still prone to developing lifelong complications. To avoid this, you will need to be closely monitored by a heart specialist throughout your life.


What Are the Symptoms of D-Transposition of the Great Arteries? (D-TGA)

If you develop complications of d-TGA as an adult, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in the face 
  • Abdominal distention 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Chest pain 
  • Palpitations
  • Swelling in the legs

How is D-Transposition of the Great Arteries (D-TGA) Managed and Treated?

The issues and complications that can develop in adults with d-TGA vary depending on the type of surgery used to repair your condition as a child.
Adults with d-TGA should be seen regularly by their cardiologist and at least once per year by an adult congenital heart disease specialist. These experts will use the following noninvasive tests to monitor your condition:


In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications to help control your blood pressure, assist your heart in pumping blood more effectively, rid your body of excess fluid, or restore proper rhythm of your heart.


In more severe cases, your doctor may need to perform a catheter-based procedure or even open-heart surgery to repair your heart.


Specifically, some adults with d-TGA may experience symptoms due to narrowing of the repaired segments of the heart and main vessels, or heart failure due to weakening of the main pumping chamber of the heart.

In one more rare variation of d-TGA, return of blood flow to the heart has also been switched during development, and the condition is often called “congenitally corrected” TGA, or L-TGA. As children, those with this condition generally don’t need open-heart surgery. However, adults may need a pacemaker and may be at risk for developing heart failure or valve leakage.


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