Transposition of the Great Arteries: Treatments

How do we treat transposition of the great arteries?

At Children’s Hospital Colorado, our pediatric cardiologists begin treating transposition of the great arteries right after birth.

Medication
If your child is born with D-type transposition, he or she may require medication and surgery very soon after birth. Most often, children are treated in the intensive care unit with intravenous (IV) medication and oxygen. Sometimes a breathing tube may be necessary for a short time.

If the hole between the atria (atrial septal defect) is not large enough, a minor procedure called an atrial septectomy or “Rashkind” procedure may be necessary to widen it so oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood can mix inside the heart. This is usually performed in the intensive care unit by your child’s cardiologist.

Surgery
The only treatment for D-type transposition of the great arteries is heart surgery. The best and most common surgery is the arterial switch procedure, which is performed by pediatric cardiac surgeons. During this surgery, the pulmonary artery and aorta are switched back to their normal positions and the coronary arteries are also switched along with the large blood vessels. Any holes in the heart will also be repaired.

After surgery, most children with transposition of the great arteries go on to live normal, healthy lives, but should be followed by a cardiologist for some time after surgery.

Learn more about pediatric heart surgery at Children’s Colorado.