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Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) in children

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Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) is a serious congenital heart defect in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed (transposed). This condition changes the way blood circulates through the body, leading to a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body.

Types of TGA

  • Dextro-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA):
    • The more common type, where the aorta arises from the right ventricle, and the pulmonary artery from the left ventricle.
  • Levo-Transposition of the Great Arteries (l-TGA):
    • Less common, both the aorta and the pulmonary artery are connected to the right ventricle.


  • Cyanosis: A bluish tint to the skin, lips, and nails, indicating low oxygen levels.
  • Difficulty Feeding: Babies may become breathless and fatigued during feeding.
  • Shortness of Breath.
  • Poor Weight Gain.
  • Heart Murmurs.


  • Echocardiogram: Primary tool for diagnosing TGA, providing detailed images of the heart’s structure.
  • Chest X-ray: Shows the size and shape of the heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): Records the electrical activity of the heart.
  • Cardiac Catheterization: Sometimes used for a more detailed examination.


  • Prostaglandin E1 Infusion: Administered shortly after birth to keep the ductus arteriosus open, allowing some mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood.
  • Balloon Atrial Septostomy (BAS): A catheter-based procedure performed to create or enlarge an opening between the heart’s upper chambers to improve oxygenation.
  • Surgery: The definitive treatment for TGA.
    • Arterial Switch Operation: The most common surgical method where the positions of the pulmonary artery and the aorta are switched back to their normal locations.


  • With timely surgical intervention, most infants with TGA can have successful outcomes and live relatively normal lives.
  • Long-term follow-up with a cardiologist is essential to monitor for any complications.


  • Heart Rhythm Problems (Arrhythmias).
  • Heart Function Issues: Like ventricular dysfunction or valve problems.
  • Neurodevelopmental Issues: Can occur, especially if there were complications during the newborn period.

Preventive Measures

  • The cause of TGA is largely unknown, and there are no specific preventive measures.
  • Good prenatal care and avoiding harmful substances during pregnancy may reduce the risk of congenital heart defects.

Children with TGA require close follow-up care throughout their lives, even if their initial surgeries are successful, to monitor and manage any long-term effects of the condition or its treatment.

The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice of a physician