In this condition, the large blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs and body aren’t connected as they should be. The aorta is connected to the right ventricle. It should be connected to the left ventricle. The pulmonary artery is connected to the left ventricle when it should be connected to the right ventricle. In TGA, the following occurs:
This is the opposite of a normal heart.
Babies cannot live with this condition unless they get treatment.
TGA may occur on its own. Or your child may also have other heart problems. Sometimes the other heart issues help a child with TGA to live. Other heart problems may allow some oxygen to be sent to your baby’s body. Heart defects that can happen with TGA include:
Other symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
The symptoms of TGA may be similar to symptoms of other conditions. Make sure that your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
After birth, if your child has signs of TGA, a pediatric cardiologist or neonatologist will check him or her. A pediatric cardiologist is a doctor with special training to treat heart problems in babies and children. A neonatologist is a doctor with special training to treat problems in newborns. These doctors will be part of your baby’s heart care team.
Your child’s doctor may do tests to confirm the diagnosis. The tests your child has depends on his or her age and condition, and the doctor’s preferences.
A chest X-ray shows the size and shape of the heart and lungs.
This test records the electrical activity of the heart. It also shows abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias) and spots heart muscle stress.
An echo uses sound waves to make a moving picture of the heart and heart valves. This test may show TGA.
A cardiac catheterization gives detailed information about the structures inside the heart. In this test, a small, thin, flexible tube (catheter) is put into a blood vessel in your child’s groin. Then the healthcare provider guides it to your child’s heart. Your child’s healthcare provider will inject your child with contrast dye to see his or her heart more clearly. This test measures your child’s blood pressure and oxygen in the 4 chambers of the heart and the pulmonary artery and aorta. Your child will get medicine to help relax and prevent pain (sedation).
All children with an TGA will need to have surgery to fix it. Your baby will likely be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
At first, your baby may get the following care:
Your child will have a test called a balloon atrial septostomy. This is done during cardiac catheterization. This test makes it easier for oxygen-rich blood to reach the rest of the body. This keeps blood flowing between the two upper chambers of the heart (atria).
When your baby is 1 to 2 weeks of age, he or she will have surgery for TGA. This procedure is called an arterial switch. Your child’s surgeon will move the aorta and pulmonary artery to their normal places. The doctor will also fix any other heart problems.
Most children who have surgery for this condition will grow and develop normally. Ask your child's healthcare provider about your child’s outlook. Your child will still need to see his or her heart doctor for checkups.
Your child's doctor may give him or her antibiotics before surgeries or dental procedures. This is to prevent infections. Your child may also need to limit physical activity and avoid competitive sports. Ask your child’s heart doctor what activities are safe for your child.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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