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We analysed nationwide early and late results after the Mustard, Senning and arterial switch operation.We included all paediatric patients (<18 years) who underwent a Senning, a Mustard or an arterial switch operation for transposition of the great arteries from 1968 to 2009 in Finland. Data were obtained retrospectively from a paediatric cardiac surgical database and population data from the Finnish national registry.Early mortality (<30 days) was 11% after Mustard and 5% after Senning operation, while the rate decreased from 19% during 1976-1999 to 2% during 2000-2009 for arterial switch patients (P < 0.0001). The 43-year survival rate was 75% [95% confidence interval (CI) 70-80%] for all patients and 97% (95% CI 94-98%) for the general population. Late survival improved during later eras, with a 10-year survival of 96% (95% CI 92-99%) for those operated during 2000-2009 vs 81% (95% CI 74-88%) in the 1990s (hazard ratio 3.7, 95% CI 1.4-9.6, P = 0.008). Twenty-year survival rates (without 30-day mortality) after arterial switch operation, Mustard and Senning were 97% (95% CI 95-100%), 78% (95% CI 68-87%) and 84% (95% CI 77-90%), respectively. No late sudden deaths or fatal heart failures occurred after the arterial switch operation.Outcome after surgery for transposition of the great arteries has improved, mostly due to the arterial switch operation but also due to improvements in perioperative care and follow-up. Operative deaths after the arterial switch operation have diminished, and no late sudden deaths or fatal heart failures occurred during the first 25-30 years after the procedure.