Transposition of the great arteries, also called blue-baby syndrome, is a heart condition that is present at birth due to abnormal development of the fetal heart during pregnancy, in which the two major arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs and the body are wrongly connected. TGA is the second most common congenital heart defect in newborns.
What are the signs/symptoms?
- Cyanosis, a blue skin color indicating a decrease in oxygen in the bloodstream
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Clammy skin
What causes Transposition of the Great Arteries?
Most of the time this heart defect occurs by chance, with no clear reason for its development.
How is Transposition of the Great Arteries diagnosed?
TGA may be discovered during your child’s physical exam, while a pediatrician is listening to his/her heart. If a murmur (an abnormal heart sound) is detected, your child will be referred to a pediatric cardiologist for a diagnosis. Tests that a pediatric cardiologist may recommend include:
- Chest X-ray
- Echocardiogram (ECHO): A fetal echo is an ultrasound of your baby’s heart. A fetal echo checks your baby’s heart structure, rhythm, and function as well as the growth and development of your baby.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): An electrocardiogram checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart
- Cardiac catheterization: A minimally invasive procedure that provides comprehensive information about the structures inside the heart.
Treatment for Transposition of the Great Arteries
If your baby is diagnosed with TGA, the treatment is a surgical repair called an arterial switch. During this procedure, the cardiovascular surgeon rebuilds the heart so the aorta can be attached to the left ventricle, the pulmonary artery attached to the right ventricle, and the coronary arteries attached to the new aorta. This restores the heart to its normal anatomy and function.