Back to Cardiovascular Diseases
Transposition of the great vessels
Transposition of the great vessels (TGV) is a form of congenital heart
disease, in which the aorta arises from the right ventricle and the
pulmonary artery arises from the left ventricle, with an associated
In normal individuals, oxygen-depleted blood from the right ventricle
goes through the pulmonary artery to the lung to get oxygenated. The
oxygen-rich blood goes to the left ventricle, from which it gets ejected
to the aorta to the rest of the body.
In individuals with TGV, the oxygen-depleted blood from the right
ventricle goes directly to the aorta to supply the rest of the body.
This is not compatible with life, since the body would never get
oxygen-rich blood. As a safety mechanism, an intracardiac shunt (ie: an
atrial septal defect) opens, and this allows the oxygen-rich blood that
returns from the lungs to partially mix with the blood in the right
ventricle, allowing oxygen to be delivered to the organs of the body.
While the body does receive oxygen due to the intracardiac shunting,
these individuals invariably have cyanosis.
While the x-ray may be normal at birth, the cardiac silhouette gradually
enlarges into a characteristic globular or egg-on-its-side appearance.
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