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December 22, 1951


JAMA. 1951;147(17):1670-1671. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670340060014

Transposition of the great vessels, according to Harris and Farber,1 has attracted attention as the most interesting and puzzling of congenital cardiac malformations. Defects such as persistent foramen ovale, ductus arteriosus, and abnormal aortic arches may be considered as mere developmental defects, or as evidences of the persistence of certain stages in embryonic development. In transposition, however, a radical departure from normal development has apparently taken place.

Abbott2 defines transposition as an alteration in the position of the two great vessels relative to the ventricles of the heart, or to each other at their origin, so that they spring either from reversed ventricles, the aorta from the right, and the pulmonary artery from the left chamber (complete transposition), or from the ventricle to which they normally belong, but in reversed relationship (corrected transposition).

Of the many attempts to explain this anomaly the phylogenetic theory of Spitzer appears to