Arterial Switch Surgery

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Learning your baby has a heart defect can be scary. Maybe you found out at a prenatal ultrasound. Or maybe your baby turned blue. Either way, you've discovered your child has transposition of the great arteries. Not enough oxygen is getting to their body. You have lots of questions and fears.

Our congenital heart surgeons are experts in treating babies with transposition of the great arteries. Our survival rates for children with present-at-birth (congenital) heart defects are at or higher than national averages. Our program is part of UVA Children’s, named the #1 children’s hospital in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report.

See how we stack up.

Arterial Switch Surgery at UVA

Normally, babies are born with two blood vessels coming out of the heart:

  • The aorta, which is connected to the lower left heart chamber (ventricle) and carries oxygen-rich blood to the body
  • The pulmonary artery, which carries oxygen-poor blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs

In babies with transposition of the great arteries, the aorta and pulmonary artery are “switched.” The aorta is attached to the right ventricle instead of the left. The pulmonary artery is attached to the left instead of the right. This changes the way blood circulates. It keeps your baby’s body from getting all the oxygen it needs.

Our experienced congenital heart surgeons will perform an arterial switch surgery when your baby is about a week old. We will disconnect the aorta and pulmonary artery from your baby’s heart and reconnect them in the right places. After surgery, blood will circulate normally. Your baby’s body will receive the oxygen it needs.

At UVA, our survival rate for arterial switch surgery is 97.4%, which is higher than the national average.

Care that Lasts a Lifetime

The outlook for babies after arterial switch surgery is good. However, your child will need ongoing monitoring and care from a congenital heart specialist throughout their life to make sure they stay healthy. At UVA, we have specialists who treat both children and adults with congenital heart defects. Your child will never have to go anywhere else for care.

Will Your Baby Be Born With Transposition of the Great Arteries?

Your doctor may suspect transposition of the great arteries based on a routine ultrasound during pregnancy. At UVA Children's, you can count on advanced technology to see the details for an exact diagnosis. Once we know if your baby will be born with this condition, we can make a plan for your baby’s birth. We'll prepare for every step to ensure your newborn gets the attention and care needed to thrive.