In this section
The Aorta arises from the right ventricle and receives "blue"
blood, whilst the Pulmonary Artery arises from the left ventricle.
The baby becomes blue immediately after birth and needs urgent
treatment. Survival depends on the ductus or the Foramen Ovale
remaining open in the early days of life until treatment can be
applied. The Foramen Ovale can be enlarged with a catheter
procedure, called Balloon Septostomy, which is performed in the
first few days of life. This involves a catheter with a balloon at
the tip, which is passed from a leg vein until the balloon is in
the left atrium (across the Foramen Ovale). The balloon is then
inflated and the catheter is pulled back to the right atrium.
Early surgery is essential and involves the "Arterial Switch
Operation", which is carried out in the first week or two of life
and corrects the abnormality. The small coronary arteries, which
feed the heart muscle with blood, need to be transferred as well as
the two Great Arteries (Aorta and Pulmonary Artery).
Until aroud 1980 this delicate surgery could not be performed
safely and an alternative procedure was used, redirecting blood
within the atriums. This was called a "Senning" operation. (The
"Mustard" operation was very similar).