Care for transposition of the great arteries in Denver

Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) is a congenital heart abnormality in which the large arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs are not connected properly. At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC) in Denver, our multidisciplinary medical teams from the Center for Maternal/Fetal Health in maternal-fetal health  and pediatric cardiology  have extensive experience diagnosing and treating TGA.

To find a RMHC pediatric heart surgeon specialized in TGA, please call (720) 754-7642.

Transposition of the great arteries is the second most common congenital heart disease that causes problems in early infancy. TGA occurs in five to seven percent of all congenital heart abnormalities. Sixty to 70 percent of the infants born with the condition are boys.

What is TGA?

In transposition of the great arteries, the aorta (largest artery) is connected to the right ventricle of the heart, and the pulmonary artery is connected to the left ventricle, which is the opposite of the heart's normal anatomy.

This means two separate circuits are formed. One circulates oxygen-poor (blue) blood from the body back to the body, and one recirculates oxygen-rich (red) blood from the lungs back to the lungs.

Other heart abnormalities are often associated with TGA, and these abnormalities actually help improve the poor oxygen levels in the blood caused by TGA.

An opening in the atrial or ventricular septum, called an atrial septal defect, will allow blood from one side of the heart to mix with blood from another. Patent ductus arteriosus will also allow mixing of oxygen-poor (blue) and oxygen-rich (red) blood through an improper connection between the aorta and pulmonary artery.

The "purple" blood that results from the mixing, caused by these additional abnormalities, is beneficial. It allows for small amounts of oxygen to circulate through the body, if not a normal amount of oxygen.