Transposition of the great vessels is a congenital heart defect in which the position of the two major vessels that carry blood away from the heart, the aorta and the pulmonary artery, is switched (transposed). This defect is classified as a cyanotic heart defect because the condition results in insufficiently oxygenated blood pumped to the body which leads to cyanosis (a bluish-purple coloration to the skin) and shortness of breath.
Review Date 10/22/2019
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.