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"How does TGA affect lifespan?"


My niece was just born prematurely and with Transposition of the Great Arteries. What does this mean? Will she be able to live a normal life, or will this shorten her lifespan?


Transposition of the Great Arteries is a congenital heart defect in which the man arteries coming off the heart are in the wrong place. This is life threatening as it means that blood does not receive normal oxygenation, and the defect usually requires an initial repair in the first few days of life. Subsequently, most babies with transposition of the great arteries can undergo an arterial switch procedure, which is an open heart procedure that fixes the problem.

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The surgical techniques used are very sophisticated, and complications right after the surgery are now increasingly rare. There is no reason that these children should not be able to go on to lead normal lives. However, the caveat is that the surgical techniques are still relatively new, so we do not yet know if there are late unanticipated complications of the procedure when these children get into mid adulthood. If your niece is not able to undergo an arterial switch procedure, which is sometimes the case if the transposition of the great arteries is not simple and is associated with other heart defects, then the rate of complications can be higher, as the surgical procedures are more complex. If you have further questions, your niece's pediatric cardiologist is the best doctor to answer them.

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