In the most basic sense there are two sides to the heart. The left side is strong and muscular. It takes oxygenated 'red' blood from the lungs and pumps it to the aorta, a very big artery that takes blood to head and body. The right side is more flexible but not as strong. It takes the waste 'blue' blood' coming back from the body and pumps this through the pulmonary artery back to the lungs to be recycled. In some babies the two pipes (Aorta and Pulmonary Artery) have been switched around. This is not good. It means blue blood coming back from the body to be recycled in the lungs cannot get there. Instead it is getting pumped straight back round the body again. Equally the red blood coming back from the lungs cannot get to the body and instead (wastefully) gets sent back to the lungs. This situation is known as Transposition of the Great Arteries. It absolutely requires urgent surgery in babies. Transposition is often associated with other problems and it is not quite as simple as just swapping two pipes, it still means a pretty serious operation.
Click here to see the British Heart Foundation leaflet on Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)or click here to go to the British Heart Foundation website.
Click here to see the Children's Heart Federation leaflet on Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)or click here to go to the Children's Heart Federation website.