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Coarctation of the Aorta

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
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The aorta is the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Coarctation is a narrowing of a tube. So coarctation of the aorta is narrowing of the aorta.

What is coarctation of the aorta?

Often, children with coarctation of the aorta also have heart defects.

What causes coarctation of the aorta?

Babies who have coarctation of the aorta are born with it. Doctors aren't sure why this happens.

What are the symptoms of coarctation of the aorta?

A baby with mild coarctation of the aorta may not have any symptoms.

If coarctation is more severe, your baby may have:

If a child gets older and still has coarctation of the aorta, the child may have symptoms such as:

  • Headaches

  • Chest pain

  • Leg pains during exercise

How can doctors tell if my baby has coarctation of the aorta?

How do doctors treat coarctation of the aorta?

Treatment depends on how severe the narrowing is, exactly where in the aorta the narrowing is located, and what symptoms it's causing. Doctors may:

  • Give your baby medicines to relieve the strain on the heart

  • Do surgery to fix the narrow part of the aorta

  • Sometimes do angioplasty

Angioplasty is a procedure where doctors put a thin tube (catheter) into your baby’s aorta. They widen the aorta by inflating a balloon inserted in the catheter. Sometimes they insert a wire mesh tube (stent) to hold the narrowed area open.

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