Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) is a rare and critical
heart defect present at birth whereby the two main arteries, aorta and pulmonary artery, are reversed.
In a healthy heart, the oxygen-rich blood flows through the aorta while oxygen-poor blood flows through the pulmonary artery
In a healthy heart, the left side of the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body via the aorta while the right side of the heart pumps oxygen-poor blood to the lungs through the pulmonary artery. However, in babies with TGA, this becomes reversed; oxygen-poor blood gets pumped to the rest of the body by the aorta while oxygen-rich blood gets pumped to the lungs by the pulmonary artery. This causes a change in blood circulation and oxygen will be unevenly distributed from the heart to the rest of the body. Due to insufficient oxygen in the blood, one’s body will not be able to function properly, often resulting in serious complications, which can lead to death if left untreated. TGA is most often detected prenatally or within the first hours to weeks of the child’s life and is usually associated with other heart defects such as a ventricular septal defect (VSD). Having defects like VSD or atrial septal defect (ASD) creates a pathway for the baby’s blood to mix, allowing some oxygen-rich blood to still be pumped to the body.
Possible complications for patients after a Rastelli operation include:
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