Transposition of the Great Arteries: Chester’s Story

When Chester was born prematurely, no-one knew he had a heart defect – transposition of the great arteries. After a difficult journey, he’s now doing well. Here, his mum Amy tells their story:

I had many scans when I was pregnant as I’m type 1 diabetic, but nothing was picked up. I started to haemorrhage when I was 33 weeks pregnant and Chester had to be born by C-section. I had another haemorrhage and lost three litres of blood in total.

When I woke up, the hospital staff said, “Your baby has to be taken to another hospital because he has a heart condition.”

We later found out it was transposition of the great arteries (TGA). Chester had a balloon septostomy at four hours old and was put on dinoprostone to keep his ductus arteriosus open.

He had a lot of apneas and we almost lost him a couple of times. We had to wait for Chester to gain weight for his surgery.

He had his arterial switch at five weeks old. After the surgery, his chest drains became blocked. They thought they had stopped draining, so took them out and closed his chest. He started to fill with fluid and had to be opened up quickly. They then drained 70ml of fluid and we found out his lymphatic system was damaged (chylothorax). The fat he was consuming through milk was going into his chest drains.

Chester had four weeks with chest drains and then, finally, our cardiologist said we could go home the day after the last one was removed.

It’s been a hard journey – Chester was ventilated four times, had his chest open twice and a total of seven chest drains in total (he kicked one out).

These little warriors are amazing!

Find out more about transposition of the great arteries (TGA) here.