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The surgery to repair TGA is known as an arterial switch operation. It’s performed by a pediatric heart surgeon. The surgery lasts about 4–6 hours. It takes place in an operating room in a hospital. You’ll stay in the waiting room during surgery.
Before surgery: You’ll be told to keep your child from eating or drinking anything for a certain amount of time before surgery. Follow these instructions carefully.
During surgery: Your child is given medication (sedative or anesthesia) to help him or her sleep and not feel pain during surgery. A breathing tube is placed in your child’s trachea (windpipe). Special equipment monitors your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. An incision is made in the chest through the sternum (breastbone) to access the heart. Your child is placed on a heart-lung bypass machine. This allows blood to continue flowing to the body and lungs while the heart is stopped so that it can be operated on. The positions of the aorta and pulmonary artery are switched so that they’re connected to the correct ventricles. The positions of the coronary arteries (blood vessels that supply blood to the heart) are also corrected. Then your child is taken off the bypass machine and the chest is usually closed.
After surgery: Your child is taken to a critical care unit to be cared for and monitored. You can stay with your child during much of this time. He or she may remain in the hospital for 2 weeks. When your child is ready to leave the hospital, you’ll be given instructions for home care.
After heart surgery, call the doctor right away if your child has any of the following:
Increased redness, draining, swelling, or bleeding at the incision site
Fever 100.4°F or higher
Shortness of breath
Cough that won’t go away
Nausea or vomiting
After repair of TGA, most children can be active. The level and extent of physical activity will vary with each child. Check with the cardiologist about what activities are appropriate for your child.
Regular follow-up visits with the cardiologist are needed for the rest of your child’s life.
Your child may need to take antibiotics before having any surgery or dental work. This is to prevent infection of the inside lining of the heart and valves. This infection is called infective endocarditis. Antibiotics should be taken as directed by the cardiologist.
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