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Pediatric d-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA)

d-TGA occurs when the heart’s two main arteries – the aorta and pulmonary artery – are reversed or transposed. At The Heart Center, we have an exceptionally high success rate performing arterial switch operations to correct this heart condition.

What is Pediatric d-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA)?

d-TGA is a rare congenital heart disease that is present at birth. The reversed placement of the arteries changes the way that blood flows to the lungs and the body. As a result, the blood that reaches your baby’s organs, muscles and tissues is too low in oxygen.

Infants with d-TGA may also have other heart conditions, such as:

What are the different types of Pediatric Transposition of the Great Arteries?

d-TGA is the most common heart transposition condition. The other type is levo-transposition of the great arteries (l-TGA). d-TGA is often called just TGA. But TGA can refer to d-TGA or l-TGA.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric d-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA)?

  • Skin that looks blue (cyanosis) due to low oxygen levels
  • Fast heart rate
  • Rapid breathing

How is Pediatric d-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA) diagnosed?

Doctors at our Fetal Heart Program diagnose d-TGA during pregnancy. Or newborn screening tests while your baby is in the nursery may show low levels of oxygen in the blood.

At Children’s Health℠, we use the latest cardiac imaging to diagnose the condition and create an effective treatment plan for your child. Diagnostic tests may include:

What causes Pediatric d-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA)?

Congenital heart diseases like d-TGA happen for no known reason. Something happens while a baby is developing inside the womb that causes the arteries to switch positions. There isn’t anything a pregnant woman can do or not do to prevent this heart condition.

How is Pediatric d-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA) treated?

Newborns with d-TGA need immediate treatment soon after birth. We partner with your hospital to quickly start therapies and bring your baby to The Heart Center at Children’s Health for corrective heart surgery.

Before getting surgery, your baby may need:

  • IV medicine to keep the ductus arteriosus (a blood vessel that allows blood to flow between the aorta and pulmonary artery) open so the body gets more blood with oxygen
  • Balloon atrial septostomy to widen an atrial septal defect and allow more blood with oxygen to reach the body

To correct d-TGA, our experienced heart surgeons perform a complex open-heart procedure called an arterial switch operation. This surgery takes place within an infant’s first seven to 10 days of life.

Surgery involves moving and reconnecting the aorta and pulmonary artery to the correct heart chambers. d-TGA is very rare. Every year, our surgical team successfully performs dozens of these complex arterial switch operations. Our success rates helping children are as high as 98%.

Other problems, such as holes in the heart, are repaired at the same time.

Pediatric d-Transposition of the Great Arteries (d-TGA) Doctors and Providers

Cardiologists and heart surgeons at Children's Health offer life-saving treatments for children with d-TGA and other congenital heart diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How common is d-TGA?

    d-TGA is a rare heart defect. Approximately 1,153 babies are born in the U.S. with d-TGA every year.

  • What type of follow-up care does my child need?

    A child with a congenital heart condition like d-TGA needs lifelong monitoring by a cardiologist. Some children may develop an arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), leaky heart valves or other heart problems that require treatment. When your child becomes an adult, they can transition to our adult congenital heart disease program.

  • Will my child be able to play sports?

    Your child’s cardiologist can determine what activities are safe. Some children need to limit involvement in contact sports or other physical activities. But many children can participate in all activities.