Transposition of Great Arteries

Transposition of the great arteries is a heart defect that occurs from birth (congenital). The cause of this condition, like most congenital heart problems, is not known.

In a baby with this heart defect, the 2 major vessels that carry blood away from the heart – the aorta and the pulmonary artery – are reversed (transposed).  This leads to decreased oxygen in the blood that is pumped from the heart to the rest of the body. Without some type of intervention, infants with transposition of the great arteries will die within their first year of life.

Patients can be seen by Texas Children's experts in Heart Center.

Symptoms & Types

Symptoms include:

  • Blueness of the skin
  • Clubbing of the fingers or toes
  • Poor feeding
  • Shortness of breath

Diagnosis & Tests

Tests often include the following:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Echocardiogram (if done before birth, it is called a fetal echocardiogram)
  • Pulse oximetry (to check blood oxygen level)

Treatment & Care

At Texas Children’s Heart Center, our surgeons perform an operation to switch the 2 arteries and restore them to their correct positions within the heart. This procedure, called arterial switch operation (ASO), is performed within the first few weeks of a child’s life.

To learn more about our outcomes, see our Heart Center Outcomes section.