The arterial switch operation is the extant surgical correction after a long series of palliations attempted and/or successfully achieved for the treatment of discordant ventriculoarterial connections. As early as 1954, pioneers such as Mustard, Bailey, Kay, and Idriss led the way with at first disheartening failures, temporarily leading to abandoning the procedure. The first successful atrial baffle procedure in 1958 established itself as the procedure of choice for treating discordant ventriculoarterial connections, but tenacity, courage, and vision to pursue anatomic correction finally led to the first successful arterial switch in 1975 by Jatene. After a decade to perfect surgical technique and timing indications for the various anatomic subtypes, the new era of the neonatal arterial switch since the late 1980s set the very high standards that we all know and expect today. Despite excellent early and long-term survival, important residual lesions are increasingly being recognised. Expected anatomic residuals include supravalvar pulmonary stenosis, neoaortic valve insufficiency, and coronary ostial stenosis. Reinterventions and rare, but challenging surgical reoperations address these residual findings with satisfactory outcomes. Quality of life into young adulthood is satisfactory, but functional problems include reduced exercise capacity, diffuse coronary insufficiency, and neurodevelopmental shortcomings, of which the true incidence and potential clinical implications are still unknown. The arterial switch is a spectacular anatomic correction for a once lethal condition and currently the best surgical solution for patients with discordant ventriculoarterial connections. It is, however, far from a true cure; closer and ongoing follow-up for future care will continue to be required.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine