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Transposition of the Great Arteries

Transposition of the great arteries is when the two major arteries leaving the heart are connected to the wrong ventricles, the lower pumping chambers of the heart. The result is that blood containing oxygen from the lungs is pumped back into the lungs. Blood that lacks oxygen, which is necessary to nourish the body, is pumped throughout the body.

The heart consists of four chambers. There are two upper chambers, called atria, where blood enters the heart; and the two lower chambers, called ventricles, where blood is pumped out of the heart. The flow between the chambers and between the arteries is controlled by a set of valves that act as one-way doors. The heart also can be viewed as two side-by-side pumps with one side — an atrium and a ventricle with valves connecting them to blood vessels — pumping blood into the lungs and the other side pumping blood from the lungs back to the body.

Blood is pumped from the right side of the heart up through the pulmonary valve and the pulmonary artery to the lungs. In the lungs, blood is filled with oxygen. From the lungs, the blood travels back down to the heart's left atrium and left ventricle. Then, it's pumped through a big blood vessel called the aorta to the rest of the body.

Our Approach to Transposition of the Great Arteries

UCSF provides comprehensive, highly specialized care for adults living with heart defects such as transposition of the great arteries. Our dedicated team of experts offers a wide array of services, including thorough medical evaluations, advanced treatments, long-term monitoring, and personalized recommendations on diet, exercise, psychosocial support and family planning.

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UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.