Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
transposition
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transposition

what is the life expectency for a child born with transposition of the great vessels in 1981?
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Dear Mindikay,
Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) is a congenital cardiac defect in which the aorta and pulmonary artery, the great arteries that take blood away from the left and right ventricles, respectively, are reversed (or transposed) in the formation of the heart.  This requires surgical intervention to allow these children to survive; unrepaired TGA creates 2 separate circulations in parallel without significant communication, so that the systemic blood remains without oxygen and the pulmonary blood keeps all the oxygen but can’t get out to the body.  Historically, the main surgical interventions for TGA were the Senning or the Mustard operations, which rerouted the blood inside the heart.  These have numerous long term complications, including arrhythmias, heart failure, and sudden death.  However, around the time that you describe, the Jatene, or arterial switch, operation was being performed at increasing numbers of hospitals with increasing success.  This surgery actually switches the great arteries as well as the coronary arteries to essentially their correct positions.  This seems to have fewer complications overall, although it is not without complications.

Since you do not tell me which operation was performed, when it was performed, at what age, if there were complications, and where it was performed, it is difficult to say what the life expectancy is for someone with TGA.  Finally, there is a somewhat different entity called “congenitally corrected TGA”, in which the ventricular attachments to the atria and the great arteries are inverted.  These also have a very different life expectancy, depending on intervention, etc.  Overall, patients who have undergone an arterial switch at birth and have had no significant complications seem to be doing well into their mid-adult years, at this point.  There are some concerns with regard to neurologic executive function and/or attention deficit disorder, depending on the type of heart-lung bypass performed, and there are increasing concerns about what happens to the coronary arteries and their blood flow over the long term after they have been manipulated.
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