Transposition of the great vessels (TGV) means that the positions of the 2 main arteries that carry blood away from the heart are reversed from normal.
The 2 main arteries of the heart are:
If these arteries are reversed, the blood goes to the lungs, picks up oxygen, returns to the heart, and then flows right back to the lungs without ever going to the body. Blood from the body returns to the heart and goes back to the body without ever picking up oxygen in the lungs.
Babies born with TGV can stay alive only if they have 1 or more other defects that allow the oxygen-poor blood and the oxygen-rich blood to mix until they can have surgery. These defects are:
The cause of this birth defect is not known.
Babies with TGV look blue right after birth. This is because their body is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood.
This birth defect can be diagnosed before birth. The test that may show the problem is an echocardiogram, which uses sound waves (ultrasound) to show pictures of the heart and how well blood is flowing through it.
Your baby’s provider will examine your child. Tests may include:
Sometimes heart catheterization may be needed. A catheter is a very thin tube that is passed through a blood vessel into the heart. The pressure in the chambers of the heart is measured and blood samples can be taken. This helps diagnose a defect and can tell how big the defect is.
TGV may be treated in stages.
Children who have had successful surgery generally lead normal, healthy lives. However, they may still have some heart problems.
Your child will need to have regular follow-up visits with a specialist in congenital heart disease. Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.